Gap Taps Internal Executive to Replace Larsson at Old Navy

Gap Inc. elevated Sonia Syngal to the role of Old Navy’s president, relying on internal talent to replace Stefan Larsson after he became Ralph Lauren Corp.’s chief executive officer last year.

Syngal, 46, was serving as executive vice president of Gap’s global supply chain and product operations, according to a statement Wednesday. Syngal, a 12-year-year veteran of the company, had previously been senior vice president of Old Navy’s international division in 2013.

The move fills a critical role at a time when Gap is struggling to mount a comeback. Old Navy, a budget chain focused on casual apparel, had been a bright spot for years. But its sales growth has faltered, adding to the woes of a company that has seen customers defect to other chains and e-commerce rivals.

“Following a comprehensive search, I’m confident Sonia is the right leader to enable Old Navy to realize its substantial, long-term growth potential,” Gap CEO Art Peck said in the statement.

Larsson announced his departure from Old Navy in September to take the reins at Ralph Lauren, dealing a blow to Gap’s turnaround efforts. Sales at the chain have now fallen four of the last five months.

Executive Changes

Jill Stanton, who has served as Old Navy’s interim chief, will serve as an adviser during Syngal’s transition. Gap also named Michael Yee as executive vice president of the company’s global supply chain, sourcing and production. Shawn Curran will take the role of executive vice president of global supply chain logistics and product operations.

Old Navy Chief Marketing Officer Ivan Wicksteed, meanwhile, has left the company.

The retailer has to work through a backlog of inventory as it pursues a turnaround. Total same-store sales fell 6 percent in March. That’s more than the 5 percent decline analysts had predicted, according to Retail Metrics. The drop also was 6 percent at Old Navy, nearly in line with projections.

(A previous version of the story was corrected to fix the timeline of Wicksteed’s departure.)

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