Victoria’s Secret is in the midst of a transformation, an attempt to swap out its Angels and Fantasy Bras uber-feminine archetype for one celebrating the boss female. Part of the effort includes the formation of the VS Collection, a group of seven ambassadors including soccer star Megan Rapinoe, Chinese skier Eileen Gu, models Paloma Elesser and Adut Akech, Brazilian trans model Valentina Sampaio, media personality Amanda de Cadenet and actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas.
Commenting on the change in approach, Victoria’s Secret CEO Martin Waters, who was appointed to lead the brand in February 021 stated, “When the world was changing, we were too slow to respond. We needed to stop being about what men want and to be about what women want.”
While Victoria’s Secret has been challenged by mismanagement and the pandemic-related store closings, it remains a lingerie powerhouse globally reporting operating income of $572.1 million in its first quarter earnings report in May 2021.
In addition to marketing adjustments, the brand is also going through a corporate restructure. Currently housed under L Brands along with Bath & Body Works, both retail brands will be spun out into standalone publicly listed companies through a spin-off, a plan on track to be completed in August 2021.
In advance of the restructure, Victoria’s Secret has announced an entire new board led by Donna James, director at Boston Scientific, a manufacturer of medical devices. Board members in addition to CEO Waters are Irene Chang Britt, former president of Pepperidge Farm; Sarah Davis, former president Loblaw Companies; Jacqueline Hernández, former CMO, Hispanic enterprises and content, NBC Universal; Lauren Peters, former CFO, Foot Locker and Anne Sheehan, former chair of the SEC’s investor advisory committee.
Victoria’s Secret’s six of seven female board members are far above the global average. According to Catalyst, a non-profit that advocates for growing women’s leadership, slightly more than one-third (36%) of global boards in 2019 had at least three women, up from 32% in 2018.