The Gap brand, which has long been struggling with its women’s business and often forced to rework its ranks, has again brought in new talent to improve its performance.
Steven Sare has been hired as senior vice president of global merchandising, and Alessandra Brunialti was named vice president of women’s design.
Sare will oversee the brand’s merchandising and work closely with Gap’s executive vice president of product design and development, Wendi Goldman. He succeeds Michelle DeMartini. Previously, Sare has been chief merchandising officer of Uniqlo since October 2013, and earlier held executive roles at Express and PacSun. He also spent 11 years with Banana Republic. He joins Gap on June 15 and will be based at the company’s New York offices.
Brunialti, who succeeds Maria Chen, has been vice president of design for apparel and accessories at Alice + Olivia since January 2014. Earlier, she held senior design roles at Vince and Calvin Klein Jeans, and spent eight years at Banana Republic leading the women’s design team. She joins Gap on June 11 and will report to Goldman.
Gap officials noted that since taking on the role of global president of Gap brand in December of last year, Jeff Kirwan has been focused on assembling a new team. A big change occurred in January when Rebekka Bay, executive vice president and creative director of Gap brand, left the company, and her position was eliminated. At the same time, Gap Inc. veteran Scott Key was named senior vice president and general manager of customer experience at the Gap brand to oversee a newly combined e-commerce and marketing organization, in an effort to make Gap more customer-centric. Key served in senior roles within the growth, innovation and digital division of Gap Inc.
“Product acceptance at Gap and the women’s business has been tough, and we’re focused on making it happen,” Art Peck, Gap Inc.’s chief executive officer, acknowledged during his first-quarter conference call. The Gap brand posted a 10 percent same-store sales decline during the quarter, which compared to a 5 percent drop in the year-ago period.