Shoppers walk by the GAP store at a shopping mall in Peabody, Mass. Doris Fisher and her late husband Donald founded the Gap in San Francisco in 1969. Gap Inc. has grown to include Banana Republic and Old Navy brands, among others, and operates over 3,000 stores across the world. Fisher is 42nd on Forbes's 2012 400 listUS--Forbes List-Self-Made Women, Peabody, USA

Gap has appointed Pam Wallack executive vice president and general manager for North America specialty retail and global head of specialty product, a new position at the Gap Inc. division.

Wallack will report to Neil Fiske, president and chief executive officer of the Gap brand. The company said Wallack will be responsible for specialty retail stores, design, product development, inventory management and merchandising for Gap’s specialty business in North America. Specialty retail excludes Gap’s online and outlet business.

Fiske said hiring Wallack, who was most recently president of global product at The Children’s Place, is part of his strategy to make fundamental changes and improve performance at Gap Inc.’s namesake brand.

The Gap brand has been losing market share to the competition for years and closing stores while often changing management and strategies in its quest for a rebound.

Last week, Gap Inc. president and ceo Art Peck disclosed that of the 775 Gap brand stores globally, there’s still “hundreds of stores that likely don’t fit our vision for the future of Gap brand specialty store, whether in terms of profitability, customer experience, traffic trends.”

He said “the biggest challenge with the Gap brand is largely a function of certain legacy element, which we understand and recognize. A big one specifically is the real estate obligations that currently encumber the business.”

Wallack will be a right-hand person to Fiske in his attempt to revive the business. “Pam has a strong and successful track record of driving operational discipline and profitable growth across the retail industry,” Fiske said. “She has a clear and deep understanding of our brand and of our customers, and I’m pleased to have someone of her capability, track record and character in this critical role.”

Wallack is a Gap Inc. alum, having worked as president of Gap Kids and Baby, which the company said expanded successfully under her leadership. During her seven-year tenure at Gap brand, she also led the adult business as well as Gap’s global creative center, where she was responsible for design, product development and marketing across the adult, kids and baby divisions.

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