Gap Names New Presidents for Ailing Banana Republic, Gap

Gap Inc. (GPS) incoming Chief Executive Officer Art Peck is overhauling management at the ailing Banana Republic and Gap brands.

Jeff Kirwan, 48, will replace Stephen Sunnucks as global president for the Gap chain in December, and Andi Owen, 49, will succeed Jack Calhoun on Jan. 5 as global president for Banana Republic, the retailer’s upscale chain.

The move marks Peck’s first major decision since CEO Glenn Murphy said last month that he will step down in February. New styles at Gap have failed to connect with customers inundated with discount offers from brick-and-mortar and e-commerce rivals. Sales at the chain’s stores open at least a year and online have declined 5 percent in every quarter this fiscal year. Banana Republic hasn’t boosted sales on that basis for the last seven quarters.

“I’m impatient, and I’m never satisfied — I want them to be better and better,” Peck, 59, said in an interview today. “That means consistency season after season, not just across product but across the stores and marketing, the whole thing.”

The new leaders could be positive for the struggling brands, Anna Andreeva, a New York-based analyst at Oppenheimer & Co., said in an interview.

“Fresh blood is not a bad thing,” said Andreeva, who has a market perform rating on the shares. “The writing is on the wall with what happened there.”

Source: The Gap Inc. via Bloomberg
Andi Owen, 49, will become global president for Banana Republic on Jan. 5.
Gap Chief

Sunnucks, who will leave Gap on Dec. 19, has led the unit since November 2012. Kirwan joined the San Francisco-based retailer in 2004 from Target Corp. and has led Gap’s greater China business for three years.

“He’s a global executive, he’s been super innovative in the digital space,” Peck said. “In every assignment, he’s brought a team together where the whole is way more than the sum of the parts.”

Calhoun, who will depart the company on Feb. 1, has headed Banana Republic for eight years. Peck said the two agreed it was time for a new leader at the chain, which has struggled to stock trendy products that also fit with the brand’s personality.

Owen joined Gap in 1991 from Macy’s Inc. (M)’s Bloomingdales and currently leads the Gap brand’s global outlet business.

At Banana Republic, Owen will have to focus on product assortments, working with the the brand’s new creative director, Marissa Webb, who joined the company in April, Peck said.

“With Marissa and Andi’s breadth, that’s going to be a really strong partnership,” Peck said.

Peck, who serves as president of Gap’s growth, innovation and digital unit, says he’s trying to build a team that can execute on the company’s most basic goal: selling apparel.

“You want your whole team lined up and ready to roll,” he said. “I’m looking at 2015 right now and making sure my team shows up with clear priorities and a clear focus.”



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