Gap picks its digital chief to be its new CEO
October 8, 2014 04:11 PM
Apparel retailer Gap Inc. has chosen its digital leader as its next CEO.
Art Peck, president of growth, innovation and digital at Gap will take over when Glenn Murphy steps down Feb. 1, 2015, Gap announced today. Gap is No. 19 in the 2014 Internet Retailer Top 500.
Peck has been responsible for digital and omnichannel strategies for the past seven years, a period in which Gap has taken several steps to more closely tie together its stores and web sites. The retailer has a program, not common among retail chains, that allows a shopper to reserve a product online and pick it up in a Gap store. Speaking for Gap on an earnings call with Wall Street analysts in April, Peck said that program would be available by late summer in all of Gap’s 1,600 stores. Gap introduced reserve online for in-store pickup in mid-2013.
He also disclosed a plan to enable shoppers in Gap stores to order items not available in the store for delivery to the store or the consumer’s home. “Order in store, we think it’s going to be huge,” Peck said at the time.
He also emphasized the flexibility Gap has in introducing cross-channel initiatives because it handles its e-commerce platform, order management, customer database and other key technologies internally. “Our technology is our own and it gives us the speed, scalability and flexibility to design customer experiences across channels,” Peck said.
In announcing the succession plan, Murphy said today, “Murphy said. “With consumer expectations rapidly evolving, Art is the right leader at the right time to build on our success and ensure a compelling experience for our customers across both our physical and digital channels.”
“I’m honored to be given the opportunity to lead this company with such powerful brands and incredible talent – a combination that sets us apart globally,” Peck said. “Our success will be based upon presenting brand-right, emotional product to our customers, both in stores and online. Building upon the foundation Glenn has established, we will be focused on continuing to execute our strategy to drive long-term shareholder value.”
Gap was among the first retail chains with multiple brands to let consumers shop all of its web sites and check out once. Gap introduced that so-called “universal shopping cart” in 2008 for its Gap.com, BananaRepublic.com, OldNavy.com and Piperlime.com e-commerce sites. It was subsequently extended to Athleta.com, following Gap’s acquisition of that women’s active apparel brand in late 2008.
Gap’s web sales have grown quickly in recent years, from $1.12 billion in 2009 to $2.26 billion in 2013, a compound annual growth rate of 21.5%. Gap’s web sites attracted 14 million unique visitors per month in 2013 and an average of 36 million monthly visits, according to Top500Guide.com.
Peck joins a handful of e-commerce or online-focused executives moving into the CEO chair of store-based retail chains. That includes Eoin Comerford, who took over as CEO at Moosejaw Mountaineering, No. 269 in the Top 500, after heading up e-commerce as senior vice president of marketing and technology, and William Lynch, who became CEO at Barnes & Noble Inc. in March 2010 after heading up BarnesandNoble.com. Lynch was fired three years later amid slumping sales at Barnes & Noble.
Gap itself tapped an e-commerce executive to head its Intermix brand this summer when it appointed Jyothi Rao, executive vice president and general manager of flash sale e-retailer Gilt Groupe, as president and general manager of Intermix. Gilt is No. 59 in the Top 500.