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Neil Fiske Appointed CEO of BBW

NEW YORK — Bath & Body Works named Neil Fiske chief executive officer of the 1,600-store beauty chain, succeeding Beth Pritchard, who resigned last month.<br><br>Ken Stevens, the company’s recently named president, will remain in that...

NEW YORK — Bath & Body Works named Neil Fiske chief executive officer of the 1,600-store beauty chain, succeeding Beth Pritchard, who resigned last month.

Ken Stevens, the company’s recently named president, will remain in that post.

The appointment was announced Monday by Leslie H. Wexner, chairman and ceo of Limited Brands, BBW’s parent.

Fiske joins BBW from the The Boston Consulting Group, where he was most recently managing partner of its Chicago office, specializing in consumer goods, retail and brand leadership. For the past six years, Fiske worked exclusively on developing Limited Brands businesses including BBW, Victoria’s Secret and Express.

“I believe Neil’s experience in the consumer retail sector and his intimate knowledge of Bath & Body Works will help us accelerate the evolution of this brand,” said Wexner in a statement.

Pritchard is credited with building BBW into a beauty retail powerhouse with sales peaking at $1.8 billion in 2000. With its wide margins, BBW became Limited’s cash cow. But for the first time in the company’s 10-year history, sales fell 11 percent in 2001, followed by another 3 percent decline last year. Month-on-month sales last month slipped 6 percent against January 2002.

Before her departure, Pritchard had initiated BBW’s evolution into a retail format that combined beauty and wellness — and also ushered in higher prices.

According to the company, Fiske will be responsible for “further defining the brand and its strategy and raising the level and pace of innovation.” Areas of focus will include product development and seasonal and category planning, as well as sub-brand definition.