Gap Inc. has decided to search for a new head of Banana Republic so Mark Breitbard can focus on the Gap brand.
The company said Wednesday that Breitbard will focus on Gap and its franchise, strategic alliances and licensing business, as well as the Intermix and Janie and Jack divisions. He was instrumental in establishing the YZY Gap partnership with Kanye West, which launches for selling in spring 2021.
“Mark has brought significant expertise and strategic oversight to Gap, not only steering the brand through COVID[-19] but also making bold moves to set the brand up for growth,” said Sonia Syngal, chief executive officer of Gap Inc. “In nine months, Mark has made Gap more relevant with new positioning, created a leaner business, and activated asset-lite growth by signing one of the brand’s largest licensing deals and establishing the YZY GAP partnership. He is the right leader for our namesake brand.”
“I am energized by the progress we’re making at Gap,” said Breitbard. “We have a huge runway ahead. Gap is a trusted brand with 15 million active customers around the globe and we can be a voice for powerful change.”
Gap needs a lot of change. The brand suffers from an identity crisis and has been long losing market share and closing stores.
But Gap said Wednesday that Breitbard has a track record of transforming and repositioning major global brands and more than 25 years of experience.
Breitbard became president and ceo of Banana Republic in 2017. In 2019 he led the charge to acquire Jack and Janie, which then became part of his portfolio of brands to manage.
In January 2020, when Neil Fiske left Gap brand, Breitbard was asked to step in as head of Gap Global as well as its franchise, strategic alliances and licensing units, Banana Republic, Intermix and Janie and Jack.
In addition, he has served as chief merchandising and creative officer of Old Navy from 2009 to early 2010 and has held leadership roles at Gymboree, Levi Strauss & Co. and Abercrombie & Fitch.
Ann Doyle, general manager of Banana Republic North America, will continue leading while a search for the new head of the brand is conducted.