Top-ranking Victoria's Secret exec is reportedly stepping down less than a year after he sparked backlash with comments about transgender and plus-size models

victoria's secret ed razekEd Razek speaks to the 2018 Victoria's Secret runway models backstage during the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Pier 94 on November 8, 2018 in New York City.Getty Images/Dia Dipasupil

  • Ed Razek, the controversial CMO of Victoria's Secret parent company L Brands, is stepping down, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
  • The news comes less than a year after Razek faced backlash for saying Victoria's Secret's annual fashion show should not feature "transsexuals" because "the show is a fantasy."
  • On Monday morning, Valentina Sampaio appeared to announce via Instagram that she had been hired as the brand's first openly transgender model.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Ed Razek, the CMO of Victoria's Secret parent company L Brands, is stepping down, according to The Wall Street Journal.

L Brands chairman and CEO Leslie Wexner said in an internal memo Monday that "Razek had told him a few weeks ago about his desire to retire from his role this month," the Journal's Khadeeja Safdar reports.

Representatives for L Brands did not immediately return Business Insider's request for comment.

The news comes less than a year after a Vogue interview with Razek sparked massive backlash. In the interview, Razek said that he didn't think the lingerie brand's annual fashion show should feature "transsexuals" because "the show is a fantasy."

Many people called for Razek's resignation. The executive apologized two days later, but did not signal plans to leave the company at the time.

Read more: People slammed Victoria's Secret after its marketing chief made controversial comments about transgender models, but he didn't resign. This could be why, according to former executives.

Razek has been responsible for organizing Victoria's Secret's annual fashion show since 1995 and became chief marketing officer of L Brands in the late 1990s. Victoria's Secret employees told Business Insider's Mary Hanbury earlier this year that Razek didn't resign in large part because of his close relationship with Wexner.

"Ed ... is just very untouchable in Les' eyes," a former executive who worked at Victoria's Secret's New York office for nine years and was laid off in mid-2017 told Business Insider.

"He considers Ed to be like a brainchild of the brand with him," they continued. "He is the golden child and does whatever he wants."

Recently, Wexner has been in the spotlight for his ties with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Former L Brands executives told The Wall Street Journal that Epstein attempted to meddle in L Brands' business, buying a plane from the company for $10 million and trying to offer input on which women should be Victoria's Secret models.

In late July, Victoria's Secret model Shanina Shaik told The Daily Telegraph that the annual show - long Razek's responsibility - would be cancelled this year. Earlier this year, Wexner said to employees in an internal memo that the company didn't think "network television is the right fit" for the show.

On Monday morning, Valentina Sampaio seemingly announced via Instagram that she had been hired as the company's first openly transgender model.

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