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Gap Looks Within to Old Navy Boss to Take Over as CEO

By Anne Chou
Gap
Robert Wei / Shutterstock.com

Gap Inc. announced that it promoted Sonia Syngal, chief executive of its Old Navy brand, to be its new CEO, four months after the abrupt exit of then-CEO Art Peck.

Syngal will step into the top role on March 23, in addition to joining Gap’s board. She replaces interim chief Robert Fisher, the son of Gap’s co-founders, who will also step down as chairman of the company’s board.

The clothing retailer has struggled for years to combat declining sales amid a challenging retail environment and stiff competition from low-priced fast fashion chains and discount retailers. Peck’s turnaround efforts failed to reignite sales growth, and his departure came as the company announced disappointing third-quarter performance across its family of apparel brands. Earlier this year, Gap scrapped its plan to spin off Old Navy into a separate public company citing the cost of the split and poor performance by the stores.

Syngal joined Gap in 2004 and has served in a variety of leadership and general management roles prior to becoming the chief executive of Old Navy in 2016. She led Old Navy from $7B to $8B in sales in three years, expanding its North American presence to more than 1,200 stores in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, according to the company. Prior to Gap, she held a number of roles in manufacturing, operations, logistics and supply chain management at Fortune 500 companies, including Sun Microsystems and Ford Motor Co.

“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,” Syngal said in a statement. “To do that, we must better prioritize initiatives and capabilities that will improve execution and drive value creation.”

Gap announced that Elizabeth Smith, the former CEO of Bloomin’ Brands, and Amy Miles, the fomer CEO of Regal Entertainment Group, will join its board on April 1. Gap also said that board member Bobby Martin, the former CEO of Wal-Mart International, will take over from Fisher as executive chairman of the company, effective March 23. Fisher will remain on the Gap board.

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