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L Brands Hires New Legal Chief As It Prepares for Spin Offs

May 13, 2021, 3:43 PM

L Brands, Inc., has hired former Madewell Inc. and Rosetta Stone Inc. lawyer Michael Wu as its new chief legal officer in a time of change for the company, which is set to spin off two of its subsidiaries, Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works.

Wu joins the Columbus, Ohio-based company after a year as chief legal officer of women’s clothing brand Madewell, owned by J.Crew Group, Inc. Before that, he was the general counsel of children’s clothing company Carter’s, Inc, for five years, according to his LinkedIn profile.

The former Morgan, Lewis & Bockius associate has also worked for Rosetta Stone and telecommunications companies Teleglobe International Holdings, now part of Tata Communications, and Orange.

A spokesperson for L Brands confirmed Wu’s title in an email and said Lowell “Chip” Howard Jr. was the last to hold the top lawyer role. Howard was most recently L Brands’ general counsel and chief compliance officer and left the company in December, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Wu declined to comment on his new position.

L Brands recently renewed efforts to spin off Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works into separate public companies by August despite closing over 240 Victoria’s Secret and 30 Bath & Body Works locations in North America last year, according to its fourth quarter earnings report.

“In the last ten months, we have made significant progress in the turnaround of the Victoria’s Secret business,” said Sarah Nash, L Brands’ chair of the board, in a May 11 statement.

“Further, both Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret are leaders in their respective markets, and, as separate businesses, each will be ideally positioned to benefit from a sharpened focus on pursing growth strategies best suited to each company’s customer base and strategic objectives,” Nash said.

Earlier this year, L Brands hired Melinda McAfee as Victoria’s Secret’s first chief legal officer, and last November the brand replaced former CEO John Mehas with Martin Waters.

L Brands has faced controversy in recent years over former chairman Leslie Wexner’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, though Wexner has claimed ties were severed more than a decade ago.

The company announced earlier this year that Wexner won’t run for re-election at the company’s annual shareholder meeting this month, a year after giving up his position as CEO and chairman of the company.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ruiqi Chen in Washington, D.C. at rchen@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com

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