Gap Marketing VP Kyle Andrew Leaves Struggling Retailer

Oversaw 'Skinny Black' Campaign; Takes Top Ad Post at Kenneth Cole

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COLUMBUS, Ohio ( -- Marketing executives are bailing out of the ailing Gap, as VP-Marketing Kyle Andrew, who oversaw the retailer's Project Red tie-in and skinny black campaign with Audrey Hepburn, decamps for Kenneth Cole.
VP-Marketing Kyle Andrew oversaw Gap's Audrey Hepburn skinny black campaign.
VP-Marketing Kyle Andrew oversaw Gap's Audrey Hepburn skinny black campaign.

Ms. Andrew is taking the position of senior VP-marketing and advertising at Kenneth Cole, the 51-store retail chain with $1 billion in sales. Her departure comes amid declining same-store sales and published reports that Gap Inc. is on the sales block and that its trio of brands could be divided up in a private-equity buyout.

Ms. Andrew joins Kenneth Cole on Feb. 5, filling the top marketing job at the retailer that had been vacant for three months following the departure of Lori Wagner, who took the position of chief marketing officer at competitor Cole Haan, said Kenneth Cole spokeswoman Meredith Paley. Ms. Andrew will oversee the retailer's in-house advertising agency.

Bobbi Silten
At the Gap, Ms. Andrew is replaced in the interim by Bobbi Silten, the chief foundation officer of the Gap Foundation, the company's philanthropic arm. Ms. Silten joined the company 18 months ago and is the former president of the Dockers and Slates brands at Levi Strauss & Co., where she worked for 12 years. Ms. Stilten will split her time between the foundation and Gap brand marketing, said Greg Rossiter, a Gap spokesman.

A longtime Gap veteran, Ms. Andrew had been heading up marketing at the chain following the departure in late 2005 of Jeff Jones, exec VP-Gap marketing, a position that has remained vacant.

With the resulting leadership change in marketing, it certainly throws into question whether its longtime agency relationship with Laird & Partners, New York, which created the chain's celebrity marketing strategy, can survive. Change is already afoot, at least in the chain's international division. According to published reports, negotiations are being finalized for its media planning and buying account, reportedly being shifted to PHD from ZenithOptimedia.

'Nothing new'
When asked whether a review of the brand's creative account was pending, Mr. Rossiter said: "It's a long-standing relationship there; they are continuing to provide creative, there's nothing new."

But he added: "We always evaluate the efficacy of our marketing campaigns on a regular basis. This skinny black campaign on Audrey Hepburn gained a great deal of acclaim as did our Product Red campaign."

Chris Hufnagel, VP-brand store experience, has also left the company after a four-year stint that included working on the team that created the chain's new store concept. His last day will be Jan. 12.

Old Navy
The changes at Gap come as other management positions are being shuffled. Gap issued a press release announcing that the president of Gap Adult, Denise Johnston, and Old Navy's executive VP-product design, Ivy Ross, also are leaving the company.

Susan Wayne, exec VP-marketing at Old Navy, left the company several weeks ago. Gap Inc. has left that position vacant and is conducting a search for a head of marketing, Mr. Rossiter said.

For now, the marketing team is reporting directly to Dawn Robertson, president of the Old Navy brand, who joined the company last fall.
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