Remembered as the founder of the Victoria's Secret lingerie chain, he operated the business for five years before selling it to fellow businessman Leslie Wexner for one million dollars. The fact that the chain had amassed a profit of over a billion a year by the early 1990s was suspected to be a factor in his 1993 suicide.
After graduating from Tufts University in Massachusetts, he enrolled at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business. He opened the first store in the Victoria's Secret chain in 1977. He came up with the idea for Victoria's Secret because he thought that the classy store would cater to men like him who were too embarrassed to buy undergarments for their wives.
He established a second business, My Child's Destiny, in the 1980s; the children's clothing retailer faced bankruptcy just two years later.
Born and raised in Connecticut, he later settled in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and two children.
He was mentioned by one of the characters in The Social Network (a 2010 movie about the founding of Facebook) as an example of why Mark Zuckerberg should not, under any circumstances, sell Facebook.