Victoria’s Secret chief marketing officer Ed Razek has retired, according to a note sent to employees by Leslie H. Wexner, the company’s chief executive.
The news was confirmed by the New York Times. Razek has been key in choosing which models appear in the Victoria’s Secret show for the past 15 years, launching the careers of high-profile names including Tyra Banks and Gisele. He is a controversial figure, who was largely responsible for the airbrushed, homogenized view of femininity associated with the lingerie label.
In 2018, the 71-year-old attracted headlines after he said that he would never cast a transgender model in the show. He also insisted the public has “no interest” in the inclusion of plus-size models. Interestingly, news of his departure comes a day after transgender model Valentina Sampaio shot her first campaign for the brand.
“Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should,” he told Vogue.com. “Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy.”
Victoria’s Secret has struggled to rebrand itself in a modern era, where body inclusivity and diversity are celebrated. Model Shanina Shaik revealed earlier this month that the show would not go ahead this year as organizers attempt “to work on branding and new ways to do the show.”
The 2018 Victoria’s Secret show was watched by fewer people than ever before when it aired on Sunday, December 2. The catwalk event, which starred the Hadid sisters as well as Kendall Jenner, attracted a record low of only 3.3 million viewers, compared to five million in 2017.