Victoria’s Secret Chief Executive Jan Singer Resigns as Brand Is Plagued by Backlash for Lack of Inclusion
Victoria’s Secret‘s executive Jan Singer, CEO of the brand’s lingerie division, has resigned after just two years with the company. The news was first reported by The Financial Times, and confirmed by PEOPLE.
According to the report, L Brands, the parent company of Victoria’s Secret, plans to officially announce Singer’s resignation next week, ahead of the company’s quarterly earnings report, scheduled for Tuesday. Before her time at Victoria’s Secret, Singer served as the chief executive officer of Spanx and spent 10 years in senior leadership roles at Nike.
Victoria’s Secret has faced its share of problems this year, from store closings to declining sales. Last week, the brand also faced major backlash for the lack of inclusion in the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, which airs on ABC on Dec. 2.
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After filming the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show wrapped, the brand and L Brands’ chief marketing officer Ed Razek faced backlash for his comments, which seemed to justify the lack of curvy and transgender models on the VS runway.
In an interview with Vogue, Razek said that the brand would not hire transgender or curvy models for the annual lingerie extravaganza.
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“Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special,” Razek told the magazine.
He added that inviting plus-size models to participate the show isn’t something Victoria’s Secret plans to do in the future, since “no one had any interest in it” when they pursued the idea in 2000.
“I think we address the way the market is shifting on a constant basis. If you’re asking if we’ve considered putting a transgender model in the show or looked at putting a plus-size model in the show, we have,” Razek said. “We invented the plus-size model show in what was our sister division, Lane Bryant. Lane Bryant still sells plus-size lingerie, but it sells a specific range, just like every specialty retailer in the world sells a range of clothing. As do we. We market to who we sell to, and we don’t market to the whole world.”
Razek continued, “We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it, still don’t.”
After getting heat for the controversial comments from celebrities and models, Victoria’s Secret issued an apology.
“My remark regarding the inclusion of transgender models in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show came across as insensitive. I apologize,” Razek said. “To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model for the show. We’ve had transgender models come to casting… And like many others, they didn’t make it…But it was never about gender. I admire and respect their journey to embrace who they really are.”
Victoria’s Secret has made an effort to expand diversity on the runway by casting 19 models of color this season, including Winnie Harlow, the first model with vitiligo, to walk the show.
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