Victoria’s Secret CEO Amy Hauk has abruptly resigned after less than a year on the job, according to CNN.
Shares dropped by 8% in the hours after the official resignation that will be finalized in March 2023, as Hauk will also step down as CEO of the company’s teen-oriented brand, Pink, of which she has been the CEO of since 2018 as well, according to Victoria’s Secret’s website.
The company has suffered a public relations black eye since its founder, Leslie Wexner, was found to have ties to Jeffrey Epstein.
Many of the company’s recent brand decisions were far cries from the traditional image Victoria’s Secret previously held with consumers, perhaps most notably ending its Victoria’s Secret “Angels” brand, opting for a more inclusive advertising approach.
In February 2022, the company hired its first plus-size model, a TikTok influencer, as it expanded the sizes of its garments. Hauk called the move empowering and remarked that she thought the model pushed boundaries.
“We’re always striving to improve as a brand and ensure our customers feel empowered and confident in our products,” the CEO stated.
In April 2022, Hauk hired the first the male model in Victoria’s Secret history, a move that was intended to promote mental health and empower young adults.
At the time, Hauk said that the male model served as “a positive role model for teens and young adults” amid declining sales of 28% when the move was made.
Also in April 2022, Hauk promoted a sustainability initiative at the company, specifically designed to appeal to Gen Z customers, even creating a new word to promote their cause: “What I learned when joining the brand in 2018 is that our customers, specifically Gen Z, are so passionate about caring for the planet,” Hauk remarked. “Knowing this, we’ve coined the term ‘cause-merce’ because PINK strives to do so much more than just sell product; we’re combining commerce and causes so that our customers know that in supporting PINK, they are also supporting the causes they care about,” she concluded.
According to CNN, sales have been fluctuating since the start of COVID, but are projected to see a drop of upwards of 7% in 2023.