Management Turnover as Change Agent

Thursday, August 21, 2008

More Changes at The Gap - Is there Light at the end of the Tunnel?

The Gap GPS (NYSE), the struggling clothing retailer, is expected to announce quarterly earnings today after the close of the markets.  One potentially positive note is the new vigor and style Gap's newest designer, Patrick Robinson, has infused into the Gap's fall collection.  According to a story by Eric Wilson in the International Herald Tribune,
Robinson, 41, is the third designer to attempt to pull the sword from the stone since Gap began to publicly acknowledge its creative personnel in 2003, and the most closely watched because of his popularity with industry insiders and his finesse with casual American sportswear.
His fall designs have generated promising reviews, but also concern about whether a single designer - one with a mixed track record - can revive a brand with 1,155 stores in the United States in the midst of an economic crisis.
Robinson's input into design for the Gap was followed today by the company's announcement that acting President Tom Wyatt of the Gap's subsidiary Old Navy who had temporarily replaced Dawn Robertson as president back in February was formally made the President of Old Navy today.  According to the company's press release,
"In the last six months, Tom (Wyatt) unified the organization and brought renewed focus to our customer target, while making the tough changes necessary to get the brand back on track," Gap Chief Executive Glenn Murphy said.
Glenn Murphy, the Gap's CEO, has been working feverishly to find a formula that could work to turn the retailer's fortunes around.  It's tough right now, but maybe, just maybe, he has a real winner with the Gap's newest designer.  Old Navy on the other hand, is a far more difficult situation.  

Stay tuned expect more to come both good and bad.

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