Monday, November 19, 2018

Will The Victoria’s Secret CEO's Resignation Provoke Brand Change?

One week after its annual catwalk extravaganza, Victoria’s SecretCEO Jan Singer has resigned from her role at the lingerie giant. The news comes after CMO of L Brands, Victoria Secret's parent company, Ed Razek came under fire for claiming that the brand had “no interest” in featuring plus-size models or trans models on its runway.

The company’s failure to connect with and cater to the 800 million viewers across the 190 countries that tune into the show is mirrored in dwindling Victoria’s Secret sales reports. In the last two years, quarterly same-store sales have risen only once, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Singer, who has been at the company for close to two years, joined from Spanx, where she served as CEO for two years. Prior to that, she spent more than a decade as an executive at Nike Inc. During her time at Victoria’s Secret, she launched bra styles focusing on comfort and fit, and hired Jann Parish, formerly of Calvin Klein, as CMO in order to revitalise the brand’s marketing. Parish left the company prior to the 2018 fashion show having been in the position less than a year.

Though neither Singer nor Parish has chosen to comment, their departures would suggest that L Brands is unwilling to evolve from the dated messaging that it is wedded to – despite advice from the executives it hired to develop the brand. Razek’s lacklustre apology – he later said that he “absolutely would cast a transgender model” – is further proof how out of touch Victoria's Secret is. Its reluctance to hang up its diamanté-rhinestone-gem-you-name-it-embellished wings – despite competitors like Savage x Fenty and Aerie poaching customers – however, is where its real fault lies.

Will Singer's power move serve as a wake-up call? Let's hope Victoria's Secret has called a crisis meeting instead of one planning its 2019 catwalk show.

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