Gap C.E.O. Steps Down in Abrupt Exit

Gap C.E.O. Steps Down in Abrupt Exit

Business|Gap C.E.O. Steps Down in Abrupt Exit

Art Peck, who was viewed as a beacon of digital expertise, is leaving the company after less than five years in the top role.

Credit…David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Art Peck, who has been the chief executive of Gap Inc. since 2015, is leaving the company after 15 years and will be replaced on an interim basis by Robert J. Fisher, its nonexecutive chairman and a son of the couple who founded the retailer.

Gap, which also owns Banana Republic and Old Navy, did not provide any details of the departure or a statement from Mr. Peck in a release on Thursday. The company also cut its outlook for the third quarter and the year, citing slower traffic and issues with its products and operations.

Mr. Peck was tapped for the chief executive role after serving as Gap’s digital chief. He was charged with ushering the major operator of mall stores into the era of digital commerce, as browsing on smartphones and computers replaced visits to stores. But it has been a challenge to revive sales at the company’s flagship brands, especially Gap and Banana Republic, and strike the right balance between its digital properties, full-price stores and outlet locations.

The company’s biggest transformation under Mr. Peck is not yet complete, making his departure surprising. He said this year that Gap would spin off Old Navy into a separate public company in a transaction that is expected to close next year. Gap would retain its existing brands, as well as Athleta, Intermix and its newer Hill City brand.

At the time, Mr. Peck called the split an opportunity “to write the next chapter for specialty retail.”

Shares of the company had fallen about 30 percent this year. They were down about 5 percent more in after-hours trading on Thursday.

Gap, which is based in San Francisco, said Mr. Peck would leave after a “brief transition.”

Mr. Fisher said in the statement that under Mr. Peck, Gap had made progress in areas like “expanding the omni-channel customer experience and building our digital capabilities.”

“As the board evaluates potential successors, our focus will be on strong leadership candidates with operational excellence to drive greater efficiency, speed and profitability,” Mr. Fisher said.

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