Gap Inc. taps insider as its next CEO; names exec chairman

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Gap Inc. taps insider as its next CEO; names exec chairman

By Marianne Wilson - 03/06/2020
Sonia Syngal
Sonia Syngal

Gap Inc. has selected the head of its fastest-growing brand as chief executive.

The struggling apparel giant named Sonia Syngal, CEO of Old Navy since 2016, as chief executive officer, effective March 23. She will also join Gap’s board. Syngal’s appointment comes shortly after Gap scrapped plans to split Old Navy into an independent public company, citing the cost and complexity involved in the move.

Syngal joined Gap Inc. in 2004, and has served in key leadership and general management roles, including managing director for the company's Europe business, senior VP for Gap Inc.’s international division and international Outlet division. Prior to leading Old Navy, she was executive VP of global supply chain and product operations, responsible for managing Gap Inc.’s global supply chain.

“I’m committed to fully realizing the potential of our portfolio and the advantage of our scale, with a focus on strengthening the love that our millions of customers have for our brands,” said Syngal. “To do that, we must better prioritize initiatives and capabilities that will improve execution and drive value creation.”

Gap Inc. has been looking for a CEO since November, following the abrupt departure of Art Peck. He was replaced on an interim basis by Robert J. Fisher (son of Gap founders, Donald and Doris Fisher) who also serves as current chair of the Gap board. 

“To lead the company into its next chapter, we sought a dynamic leader who could bring a deep respect for our customers and make the decisions necessary to deliver value from our portfolio of brands over the long term,” said Fisher. “Sonia has all of the characteristics and experiences needed to effectively execute against the work ahead.”

Gap has not disclosed its holiday sales. In January, however, it slightly boosted its full-year expectations “as a result of better than anticipated promotional levels over the holiday period.” The company will report its fourth-quarter and full-year results on March 12.

The company also announced that board member Bobby Martin will take the role of executive chairman, effective March 23. Martin’s served as president and CEO of Wal-Mart International and is a former director at Dillard’s Inc. He has been on the Gap board since 2002.

The company also announced the election of two new members to serve on its board, effective April 1. It is adding Elizabeth Smith, former CEO of Bloomin’ Brands, and Amy Miles, who served as CEO of Regal Entertainment Group from 2009 to 2018.

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