It was on Wednesday that retailer Gap (NYSE:GPS) announced that it has appointed Neil Fiske to be its president and CEO of the Gap brand. The role takes effect on June 20th.
Fiske, who has experience as a turnaround leader, could help the struggling retailer revive its brand.
Gap (NYSE:GPS) saw its shares drop the most in 18 months last month when it reported that first quarter sales at Gap-branded stores had decreased more than what analysts had expected.
During the time, Gap President and CEO Art Peck said, “We are pleased to have delivered our sixth consecutive quarter of positive comp growth, despite the expected challenges at Gap brand. Our balanced growth strategy provides the right foundation to differentiate our portfolio of brands in this retail environment, with strategic investments in value, active and digital fueled by productivity opportunities unique to our scaled operating platform.”
“Despite the pressures we faced in the first quarter, we are affirming our full-year guidance, reflecting our confidence in the underlying fundamentals of the business as well as the benefits of executing against our balanced growth strategy,” said Teri List-Stoll, executive vice president and chief financial officer, Gap Inc.
Of Fiske’s hiring, Peck said in a statement, “Neil brings significant retail and apparel experience to Gap Inc. and a track record of transforming and repositioning brands.”
Peck added, “[Fiske] is an experienced leader who deeply understands the mechanics of this business, the value of an omnichannel strategy, and the need to build a progressive and relevant brand. I believe Neil is the right leader to strengthen Gap brand.”
“They’ve turned the dial; now if they can continue to do that is a separate question,” remarked Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Poonam Goyal.
He added that Wall Street is “still a little pessimistic about if they can do it. While it’s an iconic brand, there’s just so much competition.”
“I think they’ve hired a good candidate to lead the turnaround. He seems promising and the Gap brand needs someone that sort of understands what it takes to turn around a brand. It really needed leadership that can envision the longer term of a brand and create better brand perception,” Goyal also said.
Fiske has been the CEO of Australia’s Billabong surfing clothing brand and was responsible for helping the brand return to a position of multi-year share growth. Fiske has also had executive roles at Bath and Body Works and Eddie Bauer.