Filling the Gap: Gap Inc CEO Steps Down

Power Retail By Power Retail | 08 Nov 2019

Art Peck is stepping down from his role as CEO of Gap Inc, which he held since 2015. His replacement, Robert Fisher, will take the role as interim CEO, which is effective immediately. 

Gap Inc is an American clothing retailer which was founded in 1969. Its subsidiaries include Banana Republic, Athleta, Old Navy, Intermix and Hill City. As news breaks regarding the departure of Art Peck, the shares and sales have fallen with him.

Art Peck began his career with Gap Inc 15 years ago and was appointed CEO in 2015. “On behalf of the entire Board, I want to thank Art for his many contributions to Gap Inc., spanning a nearly 15-year career with the company,” explained Mr Robert J. Fisher. “Under Art’s tenure as CEO, we have made progress investing in capabilities that bode well for the future, such as expanding the omnichannel customer experience and building our digital capabilities.”

Robert J. Fisher is currently the Chairman of Gap Inc, but will step in as the interim CEO during a ‘brief transition period’ until they find a permanent replacement. According to the statement made by the company, Mr Peck will also step down from his seat on the board. The interim CEO of Gap Inc has a 35-year history with the brand, according to the statement from the company, including ‘senior executive positions, including interim president and chief executive officer’.

In light of the announcement, Gap Inc also shared its sales for the previous quarter. Its sales have dropped four per cent in the last quarter for the entire portfolio. Its namesake brand experienced a fall by seven per cent, Old Navy saw a dip of four per cent and Banana Republic, three per cent.

According to Bloomberg, during Mr Peck’s time as CEO, the company has faced a series of merchandising issues, from ‘ill-fitting garments to unfashionable looks to the wrong mix of tops and bottoms’.

In February 2019, Gap Inc and Old Navy split apart, making the latter its own separate business. “Following a comprehensive review by the Gap Inc. Board of Directors, it’s clear that Old Navy’s business model and customers have increasingly diverged from our specialty brands over time, and each company now requires a different strategy to thrive moving forward,” said Mr Fisher in February 2019. “Recognising that, we determined that pursuing a separation is the most compelling path forward for our brands – creating two separate companies with distinct financial profiles, tailored operating priorities and unique capital allocation strategies, both well-positioned to achieve their strategic goals and create significant value for our customers, employees and shareholders.”

“As the Board evaluates potential successors, our focus will be on strong leadership candidates with operational excellence to drive greater efficiency, speed and profitability,” said Fisher. “In the meantime, we will continue to focus on leveraging the power of our brands and the talented teams that lead them to improve execution and better position the portfolio for growth,” Mr Fisher explained.  There has been no documented reason behind Mr Peck’s departure.

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