L Brands, the owner of Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, said on Thursday that Sarah Nash would be its new chair, replacing Leslie H. Wexner, the retail mogul who founded and ran the company for decades before coming under intense scrutiny for his ties to the sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein.
Ms. Nash, the chief executive of Novagard Solutions and a longtime investment banker at JPMorgan Chase, will begin the role after the completion of the sale of Victoria’s Secret to a private equity firm, the company said. L Brands said last month that Mr. Wexner would step down as chief executive and chairman on the closing of the sale but would retain a board seat as chairman emeritus.
The appointment of a woman in the role is a significant step for a company that was heavily criticized for Mr. Wexner’s close ties to Mr. Epstein and revelations about an entrenched culture of misogyny, bullying and harassment at Victoria’s Secret. The details emerged at the end of an otherwise illustrious career for Mr. Wexner, an 82-year-old billionaire who had been called the “Merlin of the mall.”
Still, the newly composed L Brands will oversee only Bath & Body Works — not Victoria’s Secret. Sycamore Partners, a private equity firm that has been buying struggling retailers for the past decade, will own 55 percent of Victoria’s Secret after the sale is completed.
L Brands also said that three directors who had served on the board for at least two decades would retire at the company’s annual meeting this year. Ms. Nash will also serve as the lead independent director of L Brands after the sale.