Founders

Leslie H. Wexner, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, L Brands, Inc.

Leslie H. Wexner, founder of L Brands, is the longest serving CEO of a Fortune 500 company.  He started the company in Columbus, Ohio, in 1963 with one store and first-year sales of $160,000.  Today, total sales for L Brands businesses exceed $12 billion.

Wexner serves as Chairman and CEO of L Brands, a global leader in lingerie, fragrance and beauty, which includes Victoria’s Secret, PINK, Bath & Body Works, White Barn Candle Co., La Senza and Henri Bendel. The company’s products are available in more than 4,000 stores in 80+ countries around the world.  

Wexner has a profound interest in the development of tomorrow’s leaders through the works of Harvard University’s Center for Public Leadership; the Wexner Foundation; and The Ohio State University. His areas of community interest include the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University; and the Wexner Institute for Pediatric Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus.  

Wexner received the Alexis de Tocqueville Society Award of the United Way of America, Woodrow Wilson Award for Citizenship, Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Knight of the Italian Republic, and the American Jewish Committee Herbert H. Lehman Centennial Leadership Award.  In 2015 he was named to Harvard Business Review’s Top 100 Best Performing CEOs; he was ranked at #11.

Wexner is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; chairman, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Board; chairman of the advisory council for the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University; member of the Royal Shakespeare Company International Council; and chairman of the Columbus Partnership. He is also a founding member and the first chair of The Ohio State University Foundation.

Wexner holds a B.S. degree in Business Administration from The Ohio State University and honorary degrees from Brandeis University; Hebrew Union College; Hofstra University; Marietta College; the Jewish Theological Seminary of America; the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; University of Tel Aviv; and Yeshiva University.  Mr. Wexner was inaugurated by Harvard University into the Society of John Harvard Fellows, and serves as a visiting lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Mr. Wexner and his wife, Abigail, live in New Albany and are the parents of four children.


John W. Kessler, Co-founder and Chairman, The New Albany Company 

Co-founder and chairman of The New Albany Company, Jack Kessler is one of central Ohio’s most accomplished real estate developers and influential civic leaders.  The developer of numerous residential communities across the country, Kessler’s commitment to the evolution of New Albany is both professional and very personal.  Along with co-founder, Les Wexner, Kessler was among its first residents.  

Kessler serves on The John Glenn School of Public Affairs; New Albany Surgical Hospital Foundation; and is a board member of The Columbus Partnership.

Kessler is past Chairman of The Ohio State University Board of Trustees; past Chairman of Ohio Public Works Commission; past Chairman of United Way of Central Ohio; past Chairman of Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce; past Chairman of Columbus Museum of Art; past Chairman of The Ohio Arts & Sports Facilities Commission and past President of the Columbus School for Girls. He also was on the Board of Directors of JPMorgan Chase & Co., The Limited, Inc., Commercial Vehicle Group, Abercrombie & Fitch, Columbus Regional Airport Authority, the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation, and Cleveland Federal Reserve.

Kessler was inducted into the Central Ohio Business Hall of Fame, received the Builder of Columbus Award, the Builders Exchange Columbus Award, Columbus Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Citizen, The Ohio State University Foundation Gerlach Award, the Columbus Public Schools Hall of Fame Award, Honorary Doctorate Degree from Otterbein University, and Recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Service Award from The Ohio State University.

Mr. Kessler is a graduate of The Ohio State University, College of Business Administration.

Mr. Kessler and his wife, Charlotte, live in New Albany.

Proud supporters of the Columbus 2020 Regional Growth Strategy