May 18, 2011, 3:58 PM

Lawsuit settled, Bath & Body Works names a Lands’ End veteran as CEO

Nick Coe is set to take over from Diane Neal this summer.

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Bath & Body Works LLC says that Nick Coe, former president of apparel retailer Lands’ End, will take over as CEO. The announcement comes as the retailer settles a lawsuit by Lands’ End parent Sears Holdings Corp. that had sought to stop Coe’s hiring.

Sears, No. 7 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, had said that Coe violated his non-compete agreement and asked an Illinois court to issue an injunction and award damages. Sears claimed that Bath & Body Works and its parent, Limited Brands Inc., knew of Coe’s severance agreement, which prohibits him from working for any Sears competitor for a year after leaving the multichannel retailer. “We have agreed to settle this matter in an amicable fashion,” a Sears spokesman says, offering no details. A Bath & Body Works spokeswoman declines to comment publically on the suit.  

Bath & Body Works, No. 18 in The Guide, says Coe will take over the CEO job Aug. 1, and that current CEO Diane Neal will retain that job through summer and then work as a company advisor from San Francisco. Neal joined Bath & Body Works in November 2006 as president and chief operating officer, moving to CEO in June 2007. She also worked at Gap and Target.

"Diane has done amazing things at Bath and Body Works.  I truly appreciate her expertise as a leader and merchant," says Leslie H. Wexner, chairman and CEO of Limited Brands.

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