Longtime Victoria’s Secret chief marketing officer Edward Razek will resign following months of negative PR centred on his comments about plus-size and transgender models in a Vogue interview.
Edward Razek, who has personally selected the lingerie brand’s models for more than 15 years, said in the interview that such models had no place at Victoria’s Secret’s fashion shows, a remark well out of step with contemporary attitudes in the industry and among the general public.
His departure came within days of Victoria’s Secret announcing its first steps toward inclusivity with the appointment of Brazilian transgender model Valentina Sampaio, (pictured above).
“A few weeks ago, I shared with Les [Wexner, Victoria’s Secret owner L Brands’ CEO] my desire to retire sometime around mid-August,” said Edward Razek. “It was a tough conversation to have because, as some of you must know, we have shared so much together for so many years.”
The departure comes at a point when more than 100 models have signed an open letter to Victoria’s Secret out of concern for the safety of women aspiring to model for the lingerie brand, following allegations of sexual misconduct directed at photographers who worked with the brand. The company has also been tainted by widespread media coverage of links between Wexner and disgraced sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, now in jail on charges relating to procuring sex with minors.
“Corporations tend to treat the discovery of abuses as public-relations crises to be managed rather than human-rights violations to be remedied,” said founder and executive director of The Model Alliance Sara Ziff. “The Respect Program provides Victoria’s Secret an opportunity not only to right the wrongs of the past but also to work towards prevention.”
Ed Wolf, L Brands’ senior VP of brand and creative, and Bob Campbell, VP of creative for Victoria’s Secret, will take over from Edward Razek until a permanent replacement is found.