Victoria’s Secret parent company has settled sexual harassment claims just days before the brand is set to spin off from Bath & Body Works.
On Friday, L Brands revealed a settlement of all stockholder derivative claims alleging workplace misconduct at the company.
“This global resolution, with its commitment to industry-leading governance policies, is an overwhelmingly positive result for the company and its stockholders,” said board chairperson Sarah Nash, who led the special committee of the board to investigate stockholder allegations and help negotiate the deal. “It further prepares both Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret for success as independent public companies with strong management teams and boards of directors committed to principles of diversity, equity and inclusion.
“These measures, which continue the governance and management reforms the board has been implementing over the past year, will benefit L Brands’ stockholders and reflect L Brands’ ongoing commitment to fostering a safe, equitable and inclusive workplace,” she continued.
Per the settlement terms, Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works will maintain a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion council within the company, strengthen policies and procedures for reporting and investigating sexual harassment complaints and hire a DEI consultant. Both companies have pledged to invest $45 million over the next five years to fund these measures.
L Brands and Bath & Body Works chief executive officer Andrew Meslow added in a statement: “As L Brands prepares to separate into two independent public companies, we are proud to implement these governance policies to ensure a workplace where all employees feel safe and supported and that their voices are heard.”
The settlement will be filed in a Southern District of Ohio court and is subject to court approval.
Meanwhile, Monday’s planned spin-off — separating Victoria’s Secret’s lingerie, beauty and Pink businesses from Bath & Body Works into its own public company — is moving ahead full steam.
The move puts Victoria’s Secret on the New York Stock Exchange as a stand-alone firm, under the stock ticker “VSCO.” In addition, L Brands Inc. will soon become Bath & Body Works Inc., with the stock ticker going from “LB” to “BBWI.”
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