Les Wexner is an American billionaire businessman, the founder and chairman emeritus of L Brands (formerly Limited Brands). Wexner grew a business empire after starting The Limited, a clothing retailer with a restricted selection of profitable items. And later expanded his holdings to include Victoria’s Secret, Abercrombie and Fitch, Express, and Bath & Body Works. Similarly, he has been a political independent since 2018. Wexner announced the sale of a majority stake in Victoria’s Secret to Sycamore Partners, and stepped down as CEO of L Brands in February 2020.
Early life and education
Leslie Wexner was born in Dayton, Ohio on September 8, 1937, to parents Bella (née Cabakoff 1908-2001) and Harry Louis Wexner (1899-1975). His parents were both of Russian-Jewish origin. Further, his father was born in Russia and his mother, a first generation American, was born in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn and moved to Columbus, Ohio as a toddler. He has a younger sister, Susan. His parents paid tuition for Wexner to attend high school in the wealthy enclave of Bexley.
Moreover, he attended Ohio State University, and although he had expressed an interest in architecture he graduated in 1959 with a major in business administration. While at Ohio State University, he became a member of Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity. Wexner served in the Air National Guard. He briefly attended the Moritz College of Law.
Wexner began his retail career working in his parents’ clothing store “Leslie’s”, which had been named in his honor. After he decided to leave law school, his parents asked him to take care of the store when they went on their first vacation in 10 years. The store took its name due to its limited focus on moderately priced merchandise such as skirts, sweaters and shirts that turned over quickly and generated greater revenues.
Wexner opened the first store on August 10, 1963 in the Kingsdale Shopping Center in Upper Arlington, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus. One year later, Wexner’s parents closed their store and joined their son in running The Limited. He opened the second Limited store in August 1964. He took Limited Brands public in 1969, listed as LTD on the NYSE. Similarly, A. Alfred Taubman reportedly served as a mentor for Wexner, starting in the mid 1960s, and the two partnered on many deals involving Taubman’s shopping malls over the years.
On January 23, 1993, Wexner, then 55 years of age, married Abigail S. Koppel, 31, an attorney, in a ceremony at their home in New Albany, Ohio. The couple have four children: Harry, Hannah, David, and Sarah. Formerly of the Bexley area of Columbus, Ohio, Wexner now lives in New Albany, a community northeast of that city. He owns a 30-room, $47 million, Georgian-inspired estate, on nearly 336 acres (4 km²), that was built in 1990.
The estate, was, for twenty years, the location of the Annual New Albany Classic Invitational Grand Prix & Family Day benefiting The Center for Family Safety and Healing. The Classic consistently drew the top professional show jumping riders because of its elaborate and well-maintained jumping course. Further, in February 2018, Abigail Wexner announced the end of the event, citing the growing number of elite equestrian competitions.
Likewise, as a pun on his name and his former residence in Bexley. The village of New Albany was known (unofficially) for some time as Wexley. Today, this Georgian-themed village inspires comparison to eighteenth century developments by wealthy aristocrats in England.
Wexner hosted a fundraiser for Mitt Romney in 2012. Wexner donated $250,000 to Restore Our Future, Romney’s Super PAC. In 2015, Wexner donated $500,000 to the Right to Rise USA Super-Pac that supported the 2016 presidential campaign of Jeb Bush.
The Columbus Dispatch reported on September 14, 2018 that Wexner. Moreover, he had renounced his affiliation with the Republican Party due to changes in its nature. Wexner made his comment shortly after former President Obama gave a speech on the same Columbus Partnership panel Wexner would address.
- Full Name: Leslie Herbert Wexner
- Date of Birth: September 8, 1937
- Age: 82 years
- Birth Place: Dayton, Ohio, United States
- Spouse: Abigail S. Koppel (m since 1993)
- Children: Sarah Wexner, David Wexner, Harry Wexner, Hannah Wexner
- Education: Moritz College of Law, Bexley High School, The Ohio State University
- Parents: Bella Cabakoff, Harry Wexner
- Nationality: American
- Other names: “The Merlin of the Mall”
- Alma mater: Ohio State University since 1959
- Occupation: Chairman Emeritus of L Brands
- Known for: Founder of The Limited, former owner of Victoria’s Secret
- Net worth: US$4.0 billion (March 2020)
- Political party: Republican (before 2018), Independent (since 2018)
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Reference Net Worth of Les Wexner