NEW YORK — Andrew Rolfe, president of the Gap International division of Gap Inc. for the past two years, is leaving the company to take a senior position at a private equity firm, TowerBrook Capital Partners LP.
Gap will not fill the post, and the international units will report to Paul Pressler, president and chief executive officer of Gap Inc.
“Now that we have built a strong, more decentralized international organization, Andrew feels it’s the appropriate time for him to take on new challenges,” Pressler said in a statement. “I want to thank Andrew for his many contributions.”
The Gap said in its announcement that since 2004, “the international division has shifted its business model by moving key functions, such as merchandising and marketing, into local markets and building a dedicated international product design and development team. The unit also successfully launched Banana Republic in Japan and established an international franchise business.”
The international division reported sales of $1.5 billion for 2004, when Gap Inc. had total sales of $16.3 billion, according to the most recent figures available. The international unit has had some ups and downs. About two years ago, the division slowed expansion to a trickle to correct problems and learn more about local tastes, pricing and marketing.
In his statement, Pressler said, “We’ve made tremendous progress in building our international infrastructure over the past two years. International expansion continues to be a key component of our company’s long-term growth strategies.” Joint ventures, franchising, stores-within-stores and licensing are being pursued overseas, in a shift from Gap’s reliance on operating wholly owned stores. Internationally, there are about 450 stores in Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom and France. Gap Inc. operates more than 3,100 units around the world.
Rolfe’s last day with Gap is Feb. 17. Before joining the company, he was chairman and ceo of Pret A Manger, a London-based food retailer.
Over the last several months, the Gap has had many senior executive changes, and just last week named John T. Wyatt president of GapBody. He was previously president and ceo of Cutter & Buck apparel, and before that, was ceo of Parisian.
This story first appeared in the February 13, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.