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Victoria’s Secret CEO steps down as chain grapples with sales swoon

Daniella Genovese

Victoria’s Secret is losing another top executive amid dwindling sales and brand-image issues.

April Holt is stepping down as the head of Victoria’s Secret stores after more than 16 years with L Brands Inc., the parent company of both the lingerie brand and Bath & Body Works, a spokesperson confirmed to FOX Business.

Victoria's Secret senior vice president of store operations Becky Kritek-Behringer will fill the position, effective immediately, until a permanent replacement is named. Kritek-Behringer has been with the company for more than 17 years.

The reason for Holt’s departure was not disclosed, though the spokesperson said it was unrelated to layoffs at the company’s Columbus, Ohio, headquarters and New York office.

In an effort to “to turn around the Victoria’s Secret business” the retail titan dismissed 50 associates across all levels within the two locations, the spokesperson said. That amounted to roughly 15 percent of employees at the sites.

“As we’ve said, everything is on the table including having the right talent in the right places," the company said.

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Holt's departure follows the retirement of L Brands Chief Marketing Officer Edward Razek, who had overseen the annual Victoria's Secret fashion show and was involved with the company's openly sexy branding, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Victoria's Secret, which dominated the lingerie industry for years, canceled the annual fashion show after last December's event earned the worst ratings in its nearly 20-year broadcast history.

The audience of 3.27 million viewers was the smallest since the show became a holiday-season TV event in 2001, the Nielsen company said.

In recent months, L Brands has also been working to distance itself from Jeffery Epstein, the accused child sex-trafficker who died in a Manhattan jail and was previously a business associate of CEO Les Wexner.

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FOX Business' Rachel Tesler contributed to this report. 

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