By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — Gap has announced a management overhaul aimed at enabling the retailer to respond more quickly to customers' needs across the globe.
The change will put the North American, international, online, outlet and franchise divisions under a single global executive for each of the company's brands — Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy.
The San Francisco-based clothing chain also said Tuesday that it will form a new innovation and digital strategy team to further advance its efforts in that area.
The changes, which take effect in February, build upon the shifts made in 2011 that brought together its specialty and outlet divisions and established the Gap Global Creative Center in New York.
"Our strong performance gives us the confidence to make this move to bring each brand together with the goal of gaining market share around the world and enhancing shareholder value," Gap Inc. Chairman and CEO Glenn Murphy said in a statement.
Gap's business has been showing evidence of a turnaround since early this year, fueled by strong marketing and an overhaul of its products. In August, it reported a 29 percent increase in second-quarter net income, partly because brightly colored clothing is winning over shoppers. Gap also raised its full-year profit guidance for the second time since May.
As part of the management overhaul announced Tuesday, Steve Sunnucks, a 30-year retail veteran and the current president of the Gap Inc.'s international division, will become global president, based in New York. Mark Brietbard, the senior product leader for the brand in the U.S. and Canada, will take on an expanded role based in San Francisco as president of Gap North America.
Art Peck, the current president of Gap North America who led the resurgence of the company's flagship brand, has been named president of the new innovation, digital strategy and new brands division.
At Banana Republic, Jack Calhoun, the division president, will become global president and expand his focus to include all channels and markets globally. In April, the company named Stefan Larsson, former head of global sales for H&M, as president of the Old Navy brand. He started earlier this month as global president.
Gap Inc. operates more than 3,200 stores in more than 40 countries, up from eight countries in 2006.
Its shares rose 68 cents to close at $36.96 Tuesday.
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