The beleaguered intimates and apparel brand, which has weathered scandal after scandal in recent years, disclosed it has appointed Martha Pease to the role of CMO, reports WWD.


Martin Waters, the CEO of Victoria’s Secret Lingerie, announced the appointment in an internal memo. Pease has been working with Victoria’s Secret as a contractor since last February, and will start in her full-time role, where she reports to Waters, on Jan. 25. Before joining Victoria’s Secret, Pease spent five years with the Boston Consulting Group, and has also had stints at Lifetime TV as well as on the operating board of Neutrogena.


“Martha is a recognized consumer brand leader, guiding organizations in customer-centric growth and creating digital leverage to increase business value,” Waters wrote in the internal memo, which was obtained by WWD. “A senior executive, adviser and founder, investor and board member, she understands how to capitalize on the intersection of technology, strategic thinking and innovation to accelerate brand growth.”


Pease is taking on a role that has traditionally been one of Victoria’s Secret’s most high-profile. It was previously held by Ed Razek, who had been with the company since 1983, and was the mastermind behind the brand’s most well-known marketing effort: The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Though once a juggernaut for the brand, with a broadcast television airing that drew millions of viewers, the event fell under increased scrutiny in recent years, particularly in 2018, when Razek came under fire for comments he made in an interview with Vogue about transgender and plus-size models. By 2019, the fashion show was canceled, and Razek exited the brand in 2019 of that year.


It’s perhaps not shocking that as Victoria’s Secret seeks to undergo a rebuild of its reputation and a refresh of its brand, moving away from the male gaze-led advertising that defined it for decades, it chose a woman to head up its marketing department.


As Bob Phibbs, CEO of consultancy The Retail Doctor, put it in August 2019: “This is the opportunity for them to have a woman lead the brand, a younger woman who listens and understands the heritage.”


Now, Pease is tasked with leading Victoria Secret’s revitalization, while retaining the elements of the brand that consumers still connect with. With a fresh perspective at the top, that’s perhaps more possible than it’s ever been for the brand.


“When you make significant structural changes, when the top changes, suddenly there is a wealth of energy that comes out,” Phibbs added. “Someone’s got to harness that energy.”