Former Billabong chief bags top job at Gap

Neil Fiske

Neil Fiske

Former Billabong International chief executive Neil Fiske has landed a new job steering the ship for Gap Inc.’s struggling namesake brand.

After spending almost five years trying to flip the fortunes of Billabong prior to its acquisition by Boardriders earlier this year Fiske will again be responsible for a disrupted retail business.

As the president and CEO of Gap brand he will be responsible for charting the future of the beleaguered business, which has struggled to gain traction with younger generation shoppers.

Gap’s global same-store sales fell four per cent in the first quarter, weighing on parent Gap Inc., which also owns the Banana Republic and Old Navy brands.

In Australia Gap has also been struggling, having been cut by accessories retailer Oroton Group before its collapse last year due to its irrelevance with local customers.

Gap Inc. president and CEO Art Peck said he believed Fiske was the right leader to strengthen the brand.

“Neil brings significant retail and apparel experience to Gap Inc. and a track record of transforming and repositioning brands,” said Peck.

“He is an experienced leader who deeply understands the mechanics of this business, the value of an omnichannel strategy, and the need to build a progressive and relevant brand.”

Fiske departed Billabong earlier this year in a leadership reshuffle brought on by Boardriders’ acquisition.

During his time at the business, Fiske, who bills himself as a turnaround specialist, embarked on a revitalisation strategy for the action sports group that involved tightening merchandise disciplines and closing underperforming stores.

Fiske said in a statement that Gap has made some progress on its turnaround journey already, and that he was excited about the opportunities ahead of the business.

“The brand has made some important progress and I look forward to working with the team to drive improved performance, operational excellence, great merchandising, and distinctive and powerful marketing,” he said.

Prior to Billabong Fiske also held roles leading Eddie Bauer and Bath and Body works.

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