US-based apparel company Gap Inc has tapped experienced turnaround agent Richard Dickson as its new president and CEO, effective August 22.
Dickson’s most recent role was president and COO of toy manufacturer Mattel where – among other achievements – he led a revival of the Barbie brand. He was appointed to Gap’s board of directors in November 2022.
Prior to Mattel, Dickson was president and CEO of branded businesses for The Jones Group.
“Gap Inc is a portfolio of iconic brands, known for having defined American style with bold thinking and making quality fashion accessible to millions. But it’s the work ahead that excites me most – the chance to work hand-in-hand with the teams to evolve Gap Inc for a new era,” said Dickson.
“Amidst a deliberate and thoughtful search process, it became clear that Richard is destined for this role at this moment. His experience as a proven transformational brand builder and belief in the power of inclusivity, make him a perfect fit for Gap Inc,” said Bobby Martin, who has been the company’s interim CEO.
Martin will remain chair of the board and ensure a smooth transition.
Neil Saunders, MD at GlobalData, described Dickson as a solid appointment who brings an outside perspective and extensive skills in brand marketing and innovation.
His reinvention of the Barbie franchise is proof that he understands how to turn around established brands that have run out of energy and steam, which is exactly the challenge he will need to address at Gap, said Saunders.
“The core Gap brand is in desperate need of reinvention, the deep-seated problems at Old Navy need to be addressed, the faltering recovery at Banana Republic needs to be put back on track, and the now fading momentum at Athleta needs to be reinvigorated,” Saunders commented.
“In short, being CEO of Gap is not for the faint of heart.”
- Further reading: Gap appoints Chris Blakeslee president and CEO of Athleta