Old Navy’s Sands to Head Gap’s North American Brand

Gap Inc. (GPS), the biggest U.S. specialty apparel retailer, named Old Navy executive vice president Tom Sands to replace Mark Breitbard as head of its namesake brand in North America.

Sands, 52, will become executive vice president of Gap North America immediately, Edie Kissko, a spokeswoman, said in a telephone interview. Breitbard, who was named president of the division last year, is joining Gymboree Corp. as its new chief executive officer effective Jan. 14, the children’s apparel company said in a statement today.

Gap’s sales have rebounded in the past year, driven by strength at its namesake, Old Navy and Banana Republic brands in North America, making the company’s talent more lucrative to competitors. Gap, based in San Francisco, confirmed that Evan Price, a vice president of finance, will leave the company this month, while Cynthia Ng Villaluz, a vice president of women’s design, left in mid-December.

“Coming off a great year of business performance with Gap brands, we know there are risks of the competition recruiting our talent,” Kissko said. “Fortunately, we have a deep bench of talent across the company and we’ll work to strengthen our retention strategies.”

Gap’s stock rose 67 percent last year following a 16 percent slide in 2011. The shares added 2.6 percent to $32.01 at the close in New York today.

Sands is “a seasoned leader with proven success and we think his broad general management experience will make him an asset in this role,” she said.

Sands will report to Steve Sunnucks, Gap’s global president, Kissko said. She declined to discuss Price’s and Ng Villaluz’s plans.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sapna Maheshwari in New York at sapnam@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net

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