Gap President Latest to Leave Ailing Retailer

Cynthia Harris Replaced by Banana Republic Head Marka Hansen

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AdAge.com) -- The depletion of the leadership ranks at Gap is complete today with the departure of Cynthia Harris, president of the Gap brand in North America.
Marka Hansen
Marka Hansen

The former Walt Disney Co. executive, who took the reins of the ailing brand in May 2005, has been replaced by Marka Hansen, who was president of the company's Banana Republic chain, the only bright light in Gap Inc.'s trio of brands.

Ms. Hansen will report directly to Bob Fisher, Gap Inc.'s interim president-CEO.

Ms. Harris' departure comes a little more than a week after the resignation of Gap Inc. CEO Paul Pressler and amid speculation the company's brands are on the block. VP-Marketing Operations Liz Allen also left the company earlier this week.

Flurry of leadership changes
Despite the flurry of leadership changes in the executive ranks and the now virtually nonexistent marketing department, Gap has not announced a review of its longtime agency relationship with Laird & Partners, New York. Calls to the company were not returned by press time.

The turnover began with the departure in late 2005 of Jeff Jones, exec VP-Gap marketing. Celebrity-studded ad campaigns had failed to draw shoppers and reverse persistent negative same-store sales. That position has remained vacant.

Earlier this month, VP-Marketing Kyle Andrew, who oversaw the retailer's Product Red tie-in and skinny-black-pants campaign with Audrey Hepburn, decamped for Kenneth Cole. Chris Hufnagel, VP-brand store experience, also left. Bobbi Silten, head of the company's philanthropic arm, the Gap Foundation, was named interim VP-marketing.
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