Marka Hansen Named New President of Gap Inc
Bloomberg is reporting that Marka Hansen, the President of Banana Republic, has been chosen to take over the spot of President of Gap Inc., left open by Cynthia Harris's departure. Marka is a good choice for the ailing "Gap" brand which has been struggling to redefine and re-position itself as something in between Banana Republic and the Old Navy. This is the second of the major changes brought about by the latest string of losses at Gap which first started two weeks ago with the departure of Paul Pressler, the CEO of Gap, Inc.
Marka's claim to fame has been the turn around of Banana Republic brand. Today Banana Republic has redefined itself as a upscale brand competing with the likes of Tommy Hilfiger and Kenneth Cole.
Marka's appointment comes as a surprise especially since both Pressler and Harris were outsiders brought in to realign the businesses. Once upon a time it was fashionable to bring in an outsider to shake things up, and take the brand in a new direction. However, recently we have seen a lot of companies (eg Walmart, Volkeswagen) walking away from this strategy as they realize that some times you just need a person with a lot of history with a brand to help it succeed.
What I like about Marka is the fact that she has a long history with the company and is likely to better understand how the Gap customer's mind works. Still, turning around Gap is going to be difficult. With Old Navy covering the lower end, and Banana Republic covering the high end, Gap is left with having to define itself in the narrow mid-tier sector which has a lot of competition and little room for redefinition.