Leslie H. Wexner, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Limited Brands, Inc.,
was born Sept. 8, 1937, in Dayton, Ohio, the son of Russian immigrants. When he was
young, his parents worked hard, owning and operating a small store named “Leslie’s” in
downtown Columbus. He credits his parents with teaching him the importance of hard
work and attention to details, and the belief that anything is possible. After graduating
from The Ohio State University (OSU) and serving in the Air National Guard, he decided
to work in his parents’ business.
In 1963, Les founded Limited Brands with one store in the Kingsdale Shopping Center
in Columbus — with sales of $160,000 the first year. In the years that followed, he
expanded his business portfolio through both invention and acquisition, becoming a
dominant U.S. retailer with numerous powerful brands and brand extensions.
Under Les' leadership, Limited Brands has evolved from an apparel based specialty
retailer to an approximately $10 billion segment leader with more than 90,000
associates focused on lingerie, beauty and personal care product categories that make
customers feel sexy, sophisticated and forever young.
Throughout his career, Les has been committed to making a difference in the
community and is one of the industry’s most generous philanthropists. In 2010, Les and
his family, in conjunction with Limited Brands Foundation, made a historic $100 million
commitment to OSU to benefit the OSU Medical Center (renamed the Wexner Medical
Center at The Ohio State University in 2012), The Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and
Richard J. Solove Research Institute, and the Wexner Center for the Arts as well as
select other university initiatives. Aside from his passion for OSU, Les' other
philanthropic interests include the Wexner Institute for Pediatric Research at Nationwide
Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio; the Martin Luther King Center for the Performing
Arts, also in Columbus; and the Wexner Heritage Village. He is a generous supporter of
the United Way and was awarded the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship
for his commitment to the public good.