Leslie H. Wexner, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of L Brands, 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 worked in his parents’ business.
In 1963, Les founded L Brands with one store in the Kingsdale Shopping Center in Columbus, Ohio - The Limited - 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, L Brands has evolved from an apparel-based specialty retailer to an approximately $12 billion segment leader with more than 80,000 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 L Brands Foundation, made a historic $100 million commitment to OSU to benefit The Ohio State University Medical Center (renamed in February 2012 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; the Martin Luther King Center for the Performing Arts and the Wexner Heritage Village, both in Columbus. 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.