Gap Names New CMO, North American President and Agency


In the wake of Gap’s fourth quarter logo fiasco and disappointing holiday campaign (and another PR disaster), Gap Inc. chairman and CEO Glenn Murphy yesterday ousted 24-year veteran Marka Hansen as its North American president.

Not wasting any time, Murphy today announced that Art Peck, the former Boston Consulting Group exec running Gap’s corporate strategy and retail outlets, will take over immediately as the brand’s North American head.

Peck’s promotion was just one of “a series of significant management and organizational changes at Gap brand designed to drive more consistent results in North America and to provide a new and dynamic creative leadership structure that will deliver sustainable global growth.”

Murphy also announced a new global CMO, Seth Farbman; agency (Ogilvy & Mather, which Farbman is leaving to join Gap Inc.); Global Creative Center; and focus on New York as the epicenter of the San Francisco-born brand.[more]

“I expect more from our Gap business in North America,” said Murphy in a statement.  “The changes we’re making are intended to propel the brand to deliver the product and brand experiences our customers demand worldwide.”

“New York will now serve as the global epicenter for creativity for Gap brand, which is exactly what we need to compete effectively here at home and internationally.  This move will allow us to build upon the momentum demonstrated by our successful store openings in China and Italy.”

Peck was tapped because, according to Murphy, “During his six years with Gap Inc., Peck has been a primary architect of the company’s franchise business and international growth platform. Peck is known equally for his impressive business results and engaging leadership style.”   

Peck introduced himself today with a post (titled, “Hi, I’m Art”) on the brand’s just-launched blog:

“I am a 54-year old, California-raised family man with 4 kids. I may not be able to pull off the skinny jeans look. But, what I can do is lead and empower a talented group of people as the Gap brand maneuvers to compete successfully in North America and in doing so support the momentum of Gap Inc.’s global growth plan.” 

“I’m not a merchant. That’s right. I’m not a merchant. … Before coming to Gap Inc. in 2005, I spent more than 20 years helping retail and entertainment companies find ways to grow, adapt, evolve and thrive.  Whether it’s selling 99-cent digital music or jeans, the goal is to build emotional connections with products and our brands. By definition – what worked yesterday is old news today.”

“In snowboarding, you’ll fall if you stand still. And, as you learn, the goal is to carve turns and link them together to get down the hill with grace.  To torture the metaphor, Gap has carved some great turns – i.e. launching 1969 jeans, perfect black pants, and new store experiences. Now we have to link them with consistency and style.” 

Pam Wallack, the current president of Gap Adult North America, will become head of Gap’s new Global Creative Center. She will “move from San Francisco to New York to centralize creative resources, including design, marketing, fashion public relations, and production. She’ll work closely with the company’s divisional presidents based in London, Tokyo, Shanghai, and San Francisco. The global design team, led by Patrick Robinson in Adult and Jennifer Giangualano for Kids and Baby, will be a central part of the Global Creative Center.”

“Art Peck is the ideal person to lead the next phase for Gap, and I expect him to make further enhancements to our North America business while encouraging the creative teams to think big,” said Murphy.  “Pam Wallack brings more than 20 years of retail experience to this role and she will be counted on to develop the best ideas from around the globe in order to deliver amazing product to our customers.”

As part of the move to support the global business, the company also announced Ogilvy & Mather as its new advertising agency — replacing Laird & Partners, which designed Gap’s proposed-then-scrapped logo — and the appointment of a new global chief marketing officer: Seth Farbman, currently worldwide managing director at Ogilvy & Mather, where he developed marketing campaigns for consumer brands such as Coca-Cola, UPS, Unilever and Time Warner Cable. Farbman also founded OgilvyEarth, a top-ranked sustainability marketing practice. He will report to Wallack.

In another significant shift to strengthen Gap Inc.’s North American platform, the company announced the strategic decision to merge together the operation of its Outlet division with the Gap and Banana Republic brands. “This will bring the specialty retail stores and their value expression channels  within the same organization to better reflect the shopping habits of today’s consumer and  to drive efficiencies over time,” said Murphy.

“The Outlet team is known for working in a nimble and decisive manner, which has contributed to its impressive growth,” he added. “We’ll tap into the strongest leaders from both Gap and the Outlet divisions to drive sustainable performance going forward.”

Gap Inc., meanwhile, just released a video outlining what the company is looking for in its employees — passion: