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Leslie Wexner Net Worth

Leslie Herbert Wexner (born September 8, 1937) is an American billionaire businessman, the founder and chairman emeritus of Bath & Body Works, Inc. (formerly Limited Brands). Wexner grew a business empire after starting The Limited, a clothing retailer with a restricted selection of profitable items, and later expanded his holdings to include Victoria’s SecretAbercrombie & FitchExpress, Inc., and Bath & Body Works.

In February 2020, Wexner announced that he was transitioning from CEO of L Brands into the role of chairman emeritus.

Wexner hired Jeffrey Epstein as his financial manager beginning sometime in the 1980s and continuing until 2007. Wexner had a very close relationship with Epstein that began in the 1980s and continued until Epstein’s death. Wexner was once the “main client” of Epstein’s money-management firm, according to Bloomberg. Wexner allowed Epstein to run his business out of a house he owned and resided in while CEO of Victoria’s Secret.

What is Les Wexner’s Net Worth?

Leslie Wexner is an American businessman who has a net worth of $6 billion. For much of his adult life, Leslie Wexner has been the richest person in Ohio. Les Wexner earned his first fortune as the founder of the specialty clothing retail company The Limited in 1963. He expanded his empire considerably over the ensuing years, acquiring or establishing such retailers as Victoria’s Secret, Express, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Bath & Body Works. Wexner experienced an extreme level of reputational damage due to his longtime and inexplicable relationship with the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Over the years they were friends, Epstein reportedly used his connection to Wexner to lure young women. For reasons no one quite understands, Leslie gave Epstein power of attorney over his affairs. Epstein oversaw Wexner’s money, the construction of a yacht and even signed his tax returns on the billionaires behalf. During their years working together, Wexner reportedly paid Epstein $200 million in fees. Wexner would later claim that Epstein “misappropriated vast sums of money from me and my family.” The damage to his reputation was so severe that Wexner went from being a lauded billionaire and philanthropist to a somewhat disgraced former mogul who stepped down from his company in February 2020.

Net Worth: $6 Billion

Date of Birth: Sep 8, 1937 (86 years old)

Place of Birth: Dayton

Gender: Male

Profession: Entrepreneur, Businessperson

Nationality: United States of America

Early life and education

Leslie Wexner was born in Dayton, Ohio, on September 8, 1937, to parents Bella (née Cabakoff 1908–2001) and Harry Louis Wexner (1899–1975). His parents were both of Russian-Jewish origin. His father was born in Russia. His mother, a first generation American, was born in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn and moved to Columbus, Ohio, as a toddler. He has a younger sister, Susan. Wexner attended Bexley High School. He attended Ohio State University, and although he had expressed an interest in architecture he graduated in 1959 with a major in business administration. While at Ohio State University, he became a member of Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity. Wexner served in the Air National Guard. He briefly attended the Moritz College of Law.

Career

Wexner began his retail career working in his parents’ clothing store “Leslie’s”, which had been named in his honor. After he decided to leave law school, his parents asked him to take care of the store when they went on their first vacation in ten years. While they were away on vacation, he analyzed the profit and loss margins on the women’s clothing they sold. He found that although higher-priced clothing (e.g. jackets) had a higher margin per item, they sold less frequently than blouses and were therefore less profitable as a line. When he told his father this, his father was uninterested in changing his inventory.

In 1963, Wexner was lent $5,000 from his aunt Ida, which was then matched by a bank in order to start The Limited. The store took its name due to its limited focus on moderately priced merchandise, such as skirts, sweaters and shirts, that turned over quickly and generated greater revenues. Wexner opened the first store on August 10, 1963, in the Kingsdale Shopping Center in Upper Arlington, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus. One year later, Wexner’s parents closed their store and joined their son in running The Limited. He opened the second Limited store in August 1964. He took Limited Brands public in 1969, listed as LTD on the NYSE.

A. Alfred Taubman reportedly served as a mentor for Wexner, starting in the mid 1960s, and the two partnered on many deals involving Taubman’s shopping malls over the years.

Wexner expanded the Limited considerably in the 1970s, having opened the 100th store in 1976. He took on significant debt in 1978 to purchase the importer and manufacturer Mast Industries, which later was regarded to have provided him with essential business advantages over competitors.

In the 1980s, Wexner doubled his retail holdings by purchasing a number of companies and became known as a major retail owner at malls in America.

In 1982, Wexner acquired the lingerie business Victoria’s Secret. Started as an MBA project by Stanford graduate Roy Raymond, Victoria’s Secret attracted Wexner’s interest due to the unique, high quality merchandise and Victorian-era decor of the shop which featured red-velvet sofas. Wexner described Raymond as “very guarded”, stating, “When I met him, it was as if he met the devil.” Six months later, when Raymond was facing bankruptcy, he contacted Wexner and offered to sell Victoria’s Secret. Wexner bought the company for $1 million and by the 1990s it was worth an estimated $1 billion. After Wexner assumed ownership, Victoria’s Secret became widely known for marketing its items with the use of super models known as “angels” which were featured in an annual fashion show, overseen by Ed Razek. By 2015, sales were in decline and 2018 proved to be the final year for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

In 1993, he hired Len Schlesinger, a Harvard Business School professor, whom he later appointed a company director, to advise him.

Over the years, Wexner built a retailing and marketing conglomerate that included Victoria’s Secret, Pink (Victoria’s Secret for teens), Bath & Body Works, Henri Bendel, The White Barn Candle Company, and La Senza. Previous brands that were spun off include Lane BryantAbercrombie & FitchLerner New York, The Limited Too (now Tween Brands, Inc.), Structure 9, Aura Science, The Limited (which closed its brick-and-mortar stores while retaining its online presence), and Express (which closed its Canadian stores and hundreds of its U.S.-based stores).

In 2012, CNN Money described Wexner as the longest serving CEO of a Fortune 500 company. In February 2020, Wexner was described as the longest serving CEO of a Fortune 500 company, with his 57 years at the helm of L Brands. He was on Harvard Business Review’s Top 100 Best Performing CEOs, ranked #11 in 2015, and #34 in 2016.

L Brands shareholders filed a complaint in the Court of Chancery of Delaware on January 14, 2021, stating that Wexner, among others, created an “entrenched culture of misogyny, bullying and harassment”, and was aware of abuses being committed by Jeffrey Epstein, which breached his fiduciary duty to the company, causing devaluation of the brand. The complaint also names Wexner’s wife, current chair Sarah E. Nash, and former marketing officer Ed Razek, whose “widely known misconduct” was long allowed at the company.

Wexner was called out in the pop song “Victoria’s Secret“, for profiting off women and contributing to their toxic body ideals. When Jax sings that “I know Victoria’s secret, and girl, you wouldn’t believe. She’s an old man who lives in Ohio making money off of girls like me.” she refers to Wexner. Wexner had developed the “perfect body” campaign for the brand.

Jeffrey Epstein association

Wexner hired Jeffrey Epstein as his financial manager beginning sometime in the 1980s and continuing until 2007. He was the primary billionaire client of Epstein, a financier who claimed to only work with clients with a net worth of one billion USD or greater. Epstein became Wexner’s financial manager in 1987. Wexner purchased the New York property, the Herbert N. Straus House, in 1989 and later sold it to Epstein in the mid-1990s following his marriage to Abigail. In July 1991, Wexner granted Epstein power of attorney and also instated him as a trustee on the board of the Wexner Foundation.

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