L Brands CEO, the Wealthiest Supporter of the Ohio GOP, Quits Party Over Its 'Nonsense'

 fortune.com  9/16/2018 2:53:00 PM   Emma Hinchliffe

L Brands CEO Les Wexner—the wealthiest supporter of the Ohio GOP—is quitting the Republican Party, he said at a leadership summit in Columbus.

“I just decided I’m no longer a Republican,” said Wexner, founder, chairman, and CEO of the Columbus, Ohio-based retailer that owns Victoria’s Secret, Henri Bendel, and Bath and Body Works, to a small group of Ohio business leaders, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

“I’m an independent,” he added. “I won’t support this nonsense in the Republican Party.”

Wexner has criticized President Donald Trump before, especially after Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va. a year ago and over Trump’s immigration policies.

The CEO made a $300,000 donation last year to With Honor, a PAC that supports military veterans running for office who agree to meet with members of their opposing party. His Democratic wife, Abigail Wexner, donated $2.5 million to the same cause, the Dispatch reported.

The event was part of Wexner’s work with the Columbus Partnership, a group of Ohio business leaders through which Wexner has promoted the importance of civility between political parties.

Wexner announced his departure from the Republican Party after President Barack Obama visited Columbus Thursday night on a campaign stop for the state’s governor’s race.

Wexner has been a Republican since college, he told the group of Ohio business leaders, and he has been writing to friends who serve in elected office as Republicans to tell them he is now an independent.

The CEO has been at the helm of L Brands for more than 50 years, making him the longest-serving chairman on the Fortune 500 list.

“I just have to say something,” Wexner said. “If you don’t think things are right, open your mouth.”

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