In what will be seen as another blow for struggling clothing retailer Gap Inc, the company said Tom Wyatt, the president of its Old Navy brand, has resigned.
The San Francisco-based retailer said Wyatt is moving to a company outside the apparel retail business. It also named two senior executives at Old Navy to lead the division while a formal search for a new brand president is under way.
Nancy Green, EVP and chief creative officer for Old Navy, will continue to guide product development for the brand. While Tom Sands, EVP of stores and operations for Old Navy, will take on extra operational functions within the brand.
“Nancy and Tom have complementary skills, and each has been heavily involved in developing the plans to get Old Navy back on track,” said Glenn Murphy, chairman and CEO of Gap Inc. “Working together, we’re committed to the short-term and long-term success and growth of our brand that’s synonymous with family, fashion, value and fun.”
Wyatt has held his post at Old Navy for the past four years, and for two years before that served in roles leading the Gap Body and Outlet businesses.
During his tenure, he evolved the brand’s family-friendly focus in remodeled Old Navy stores, oversaw the creation of the “Supermodelquins” marketing campaign, and laid the groundwork for the brand’s upcoming global expansion.
However, his decision to leave Gap Inc’s largest chain, comes after the unit saw same-store sales fall 4% in December. And soaring costs of raw materials like cotton have hit the company hardest at value-driven Old Navy, which broadened its product range and price points at the same time its shoppers started tightening their belts.
Gap last year shook up management team as part of a turn-around plan which included replacing president Marka Hansen with Art Peck, former head of the outlet division. And in October, the retailer said it would shut 21% of its namesake North American stores over the next two years.
The retailer is also reported to have hired back former vice-president Tracy Gardner to help develop women’s merchandise at the Gap brand. Gardner left Gap in 2004 for J. Crew Group, but stepped down as president of its retail and direct channels last year.
For more fashion and apparel industry news, go to just-style.com