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He will report to Sharen Jester Turney, president and chief executive officer of Victoria's Secret. Batra replaces exiting Victoria's Secret Beauty ceo Christine Beauchamp.
"The people who have come before me have been huge builders of that brand, and they have all contributed to VSB's massive success," said Batra in an exclusive phone interview. "Christine did a phenomenal job of taking Victoria's Secret Beauty to the next level, and I plan to build on that success.
"We are competing against all of the freestanding brand stores, department stores and other channels," continued Batra. "We have an opportunity to make [Victoria's Secret's beauty business] even more competitive, and we will do that by building on all of the beauty categories — skin care, fragrance and color. I'm looking forward to working with Les [Leslie H. Wexner, chairman of the board and ceo of Limited Brands] and Sharen to do that."
Batra's aim is to create a "best-of-category" assortment in the retailer's stores. "What is the offer in the stores today, and how does that compare to the best offer in that category in the mall?" asked Batra, who helped establish Sephora in the U.S. and who also has held key positions at Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy's, Estée Lauder and Christian Dior. "We want to make Victoria's Secret a destination for beauty. The previous teams have done an incredible job, and I want to walk in there as a merchant and a brand-builder and maximize those strengths. This is one of the biggest beauty brands in the country, and look at how much opportunity we still have."
Victoria's Secret sells a plethora of its own beauty lines — including fragrances, color cosmetics, nail care, bath and body items and more — as well as a smattering of third-party brands, including Tarte, Too Faced and Joey New York.
Batra, currently based in San Francisco, will relocate to New York later this month.
"Victoria's Secret Beauty has shown incredible promise, both domestically and abroad," said Wexner in a statement released late Wednesday. "We are elated to have Shashi lead our team with his vast experience as a merchant in the beauty industry, which is complemented by his international business acumen."