Denise Johnston

Gap is becoming a revolving door for talent. Denise Johnston, president of Gap Adult, is leaving the company Friday, after just seven months on the job.

Gap is becoming a revolving door for talent.

Denise Johnston, president of Gap Adult, is leaving the company Friday, after just seven months on the job. Johnston joined Gap from Liz Claiborne, where she was president and chief merchandising officer for the better and moderates division. Gap Brand North America president Cynthia Harriss will oversee the adult business until a successor is named.

The company also confirmed a WWD report that Ivy Ross, Old Navy’s executive vice president of product design, is leaving.

Searches are under way to fill the slots vacated by Ross and Johnston. With Ross out, the Old Navy design team will report to Old Navy president Dawn Robertson until a successor is found.

The company declined comment on a WWD report about two other executive departures this week — Christopher Hufnagel, vice president of Gap Brand store experience, and Kyle Andrew, vice president of Gap Marketing. But Kenneth Cole Productions Inc. disclosed Wednesday that Andrew will become its senior vice president of marketing and advertising. Andrew spearheaded the Gap’s skinny black pants campaign utilizing a photo of Audrey Hepburn and its Project (RED) campaign to support the Global Fund. Hufnagel is believed to be taking a job at Under Armour.

In October, Diane Neal, who was president of Gap Outlets division, became president and chief operating officer of Limited Brands’ Bath & Body Works division. Paul Pressler, president and chief executive of Gap Inc., is currently handling the outlets. Jenny Ming, longtime Old Navy president, left last summer and was replaced by Robertson.

Recruiting talent to Gap Inc. might be tough because the $16 billion specialty retailer has been struggling with poor results for several seasons and is expected to have a challenging 2007, creating pressures through the ranks. Last week, the company said management and the board are reexamining merchandising strategies, following disappointing holiday results. That news triggered speculation the company hired Goldman Sachs to review the possibility of selling all or part of Gap Inc. The company has not commented on those reports.

The company also confirmed another WWD report that Karyn Hillman has become senior vice president of merchandising for Gap Adult. Hillman, formerly senior vice president of apparel merchandising at Banana Republic, will report directly to Harriss until the brand names a head of the adult business.

This story first appeared in the January 11, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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