Announcing the news Thursday, Gap said Sonia Syngal will take the reins as Gap Inc. CEO starting on March 23, with the aim of “strengthening the performance of the portfolio,” which includes the company’s namesake Gap brand, Banana Republic and Old Navy.
Old Navy has been Gap Inc.’s best performing division–so much so that it had considered spinning the business off, though the company halted that talk in January, when interim president and CEO Robert Fisher, said the company intends to “operate Gap Inc. in a more rigorous and transformational manner that empowers our growth brands, Old Navy and Athleta.” It seems bringing Syngal into this new role will be a key step in the effort.
“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,” Fisher said Thursday. “Sonia has all of the characteristics and experiences needed to effectively execute against the work ahead. She is an excellent operator who drives innovation and decisive action, and she leads with both vision and heart.”
Syngal joined the company in 2004 and has held several executive positions. She was also the former executive vice president of global supply chain and product operations for Gap Inc., which included redefining a best-in-class product-to-market model for its portfolio of brands, Gap said. Syngal was originally slated to continue as the CEO of Old Navy when Gap intended to spin it off as a standalone public company. But then Art Peck was booted from the CEO post of Gap Inc., which likely contributed to changes in plans.
Following the C-suite shuffle, Fisher, son of Gap co-founders Donald and Doris Fisher, became interim CEO. Fisher has been involved with the company for 35 years and has also served on the board since 1990.
Separately, the company said Bobby Martin will become the new executive chairman. He was previously chair of the Gap board’s compensation and management development committee, as well as lead independent director. In other board changes, Gap said it elected two new board members, effective April 1. Elizabeth Smith, former CEO of Bloomin’ Brands, and Amy Miles, CEO of Regal Entertainment Group, will become the new board members.
For Syngal’s part, there’s work to be done ahead.
“It’s an honor to build on this company’s rich heritage and lead our nearly 130,000 employees in transforming our business and operations to successfully compete in the future,” Syngal said. “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. To do that, we must better prioritize initiatives and capabilities that will improve executive and drive value creation.”