The New Year has brought a new look from Victoria’s Secret & Co. with a big leadership changeup and the completion of the $400 million-plus acquisition of Adore Me.
Amy Hauk, who became chief executive officer of the Victoria’s Secret brand in a restructuring in July, is leaving the company as of March 31. In addition to leading the flagship brand, Hauk had been CEO of the Pink business since 2018.
The pending departure was revealed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which said Hauk gave notice last week that she was resigning.
A spokesperson added to WWD that Hauk was stepping down “in order to spend more time with her family in Florida” and that she has “graciously agreed to a managed transition between now and the end of March.”
After her departure, Martin Waters, corporate CEO, will assume the responsibilities of brand CEO as well.
That makes a big job even bigger. The spokesperson noted: “Martin Waters will continue to lead VS & Co and chief merchant Lisa Rogers, chief designer Janie Schaffer, head of MPA Angela Wical and chief creative Raul Martinez will all report directly to Martin along with Timothy Johnson (chief administrative officer), Chris Rupp (chief customer officer), Greg Unis (chief growth officer), Dein Boyle (chief operating officer) and Mel McAfee (chief legal officer, chief HR officer).”
In a separate release, Waters focused on the Adore Me deal, which was signed in November and closed swiftly.
“From the beginning, we evaluated Adore Me as a two for one opportunity — a technology-led, digital-first innovator in the intimates category and a highly efficient, growing and profitable stand-alone business model,” Waters said.
Victoria’s Secret used to epitomize a certain bombshell stereotype of feminine beauty, but was caught in the cultural cross currents and has been looking to stand for a broader array of body types.
The Adore Me transaction fits with that new stance.
The deal included an initial cash payment of $400 million. But according to the SEC filing, the sellers are due to receive at least another $80 million and up to $300 million more depending on how well the business performs.
The 12-year-old Adore Me generated about $250 million in profitable sales last year and focuses on inclusive looks. It has about 1.2 million active consumers and monthly subscription and home try-on options. In addition to intimates, the brand sells activewear and swimwear.
That adds a new growth vector to Victoria’s Secret, which projected in late November that its full-year net sales would slip 6 to 7 percent from $6.8 billion in 2021.
Waters also played up the digital benefits for Victoria’s Secret.
“In Adore Me, we have acquired a business and a team that will help us deliver improved, elevated and differentiated experiences for Victoria’s Secret and Pink customers,” Waters said. “This acquisition will be a significant accelerant as we pivot toward growth and modernize the foundation of our company with technology at the forefront of everything we do. From a financial point of view, we firmly believe the stand-alone Adore Me business can continue their industry-leading sales growth at operating margin rates that are similar or accretive to the VS & Co operating model. We view this acquisition as a win-win opportunity to drive long-term, sustainable shareholder value.”