NEW YORK — Deborah Fine, the chief executive officer of the fast-growing Pink subbrand of Victoria’s Secret, resigned Monday.

Her departure was triggered by parent Limited Brands’ “strategic decision” to shift responsibility for developing Pink’s beauty business from Pink to the Victoria’s Secret Beauty organization. Fine’s background prior to Pink was in the beauty sector.

Since its inception two years ago, Pink has grown into a $500 million business and is sold in all 998 Victoria’s Secret stores. The brand is geared to college girls and is primarily loungewear, including hoodies, sweats, tanks, bathrobes, bikinis, booties, socks and underwear.

However, beauty products are being developed, and other categories are likely to emerge.

The company would not elaborate on Fine’s reasons for leaving, or on the progress of Pink’s beauty strategy, including when the products will be launched.

“Over the last year, Victoria’s Secret Pink has continued to make tremendous progress to becoming a fully articulated lifestyle brand for the collegiate customer. Deborah’s experience with that market has proven to be of significant value to this process,” Leonard A. Schlesinger, vice chairman and chief operating officer of Limited Brands, said in a statement Wednesday.

Fine joined Limited Brands in January 2005 as ceo of Pink. Earlier, she founded Avon’s Mark brand, a young women’s beauty brand, and was its president.

Limited Brands did not state whether a successor to Fine would be sought, but did say that Denise Landman, senior vice president of merchandising for Pink apparel and accessories, and Richard Dent, Pink’s chief financial officer, have assumed interim responsibility for the day-to-day leadership of the business. Asked if a search would be conducted, a Limited Brands spokesman said, “Right now, we are focusing on mainly driving the business.”

He added, “We are fully confident in the growth potential of Victoria’s Secret Pink as a lifestyle brand.”

Last December, Douglas Zarkin, vice president of marketing for Pink, left the firm “to pursue other opportunities,” the company said. There was no word from Limited as to whether Zarkin was replaced.

This story first appeared in the March 16, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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