Timeline: Columbus retail legend Leslie H. Wexner, his life from The Limited to L Brands
Sept. 8, 1937: Leslie Herbert Wexner is born in Dayton to parents Harry Louis Wexner and Bella Cabakoff Wexner.
1955: Leslie H. Wexner graduates from Bexley High School.
1959: Wexner graduates from Ohio State University.
1963: The Limited opens its first store, in Kingsdale Shopping Center in Upper Arlington.
1969: The Limited’s first public stock offering is issued over the counter: 47,600 shares are offered at $7.25 per share.
1977: The Limited moves into its Morse Road headquarters in Columbus.
1980: The first Limited Express store opens in Chicago. Two years later, Express becomes the first separate division of Limited Brands.
1982: The Limited Inc. is listed as LTD on the New York Stock Exchange. The company buys Victoria’s Secret’s stores and catalog for $1 million and acquires the Lane Bryant chain.
1985: Wexner donates $10 million to OSU for the Wexner Center for the Arts. He donates an additional $15 million in 1987.
1985: The Limited acquires Henri Bendel and Lerner stores.
1988: The Limited acquires Abercrombie & Fitch.
1990: The Limited’s Bath & Body Works opens its first store, in Boston.
1990: Wexner builds his 41,000-square-foot New Albany estate, the most expensive home in Franklin County.
1993: Wexner marries Abigail Koppel.
1998: Wexner creates Intimate Beauty Corp. to serve as an umbrella company of beauty businesses, including Victoria’s Secret Beauty.
2001: The Limited integrates Structure into Express as a brand for both men and women, under the leadership of Express President and CEO Michael Weiss. Express launches its first national television ad campaign in July 2002.
2002: The Limited and Intimate Brands recombine into Limited Brands.
2003: Limited Brands is named the world’s most admired specialty retailer by Fortune magazine in its annual compilation of outstanding companies in the world.
2005: Limited Brands reorganizes into three groups: lingerie, beauty and personal care, and apparel.
2006: The Limited pays $628 million for lingerie company La Senza, Limited Brands’ largest acquisition.
2007: Limited Brands sells a majority interest in Express to focus on Victoria’s Secret lingerie and Bath & Body Works.
2007: Wexner sells 75% of the Limited store brand to Sun Capital Partners.
2009: Limited Brands announces 400 layoffs after lower-than-expected holiday sales.
2009: Limited Brands announces that it will move its headquarters from Morse Road to New Albany.
2010: Limited Brands sells the balance of the Limited store line to Sun Capital.
2010: The Columbus Foundation presents its 2010 Harrison M. Sayre award, named for the organization’s founder, to Limited Brands and the Limited Brands Foundation in recognition of its nearly $100 million investment in the central Ohio community.
2011: The Wexners and Limited Brands Foundation donate $100 million to OSU, the university’s largest single gift, in what OSU President E. Gordon Gee calls “a transformative moment” for the school. Much of the money goes to the OSU Medical Center and the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, as well as the Wexner Center for the Arts.
2012: OSU renames its Medical Center after Wexner.
2012: Wexner and Limited Brands donate $163.4 million to the Columbus Foundation; it’s believed to be the largest gift to a charitable organization in Ohio history.
2016: L Brands eliminates the Victoria’s Secret catalog.
2019: An activist investor group urges L Brands to spin off Victoria’s Secret or turn Bath & Body Works into a separate company after poor performance by Victoria’s Secret.
2019: Longtime Wexner associate Jeffrey Epstein is arrested on sex trafficking charges in June. Two months later, Epstein is found dead in his jail cell.
2019: L Brands cancels the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, which had been criticized as out of touch with modern audiences.
2020: L Brands announces the sale of a 55% stake in Victoria's Secret to private-equity firm Sycamore Partners, but the deal falls apart as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on traditional retailers.
2020: Wexner steps down as chairman and CEO of L Brands at the company's annual meeting in May but remains on the company's board. At the time, Wexner was the longest-serving CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
2020: L Brands cuts about 15% of the jobs at its corporate offices in Columbus and around the world — about 850 positions — as part of a plan to reduce costs by $400 million a year.
2021: L Brands announces that founder Leslie H. Wexner, along with his wife, Abigail Wexner, will retire from the company's board.
Sources: Dispatch archives; Dispatch research