Mary Beth Laughton, formerly with Sephora and with 20 years’ experience in retail and e-commerce, will become president and chief executive officer of Athleta in late October.

Laughton will report to Gap Inc. president and ceo Art Peck, who said, “Laughton has a “strong background in digital operations, a keen understanding of customers and an ability to deliver innovative experiences.”

Laughton characterized Athleta as a “powerful brand that empowers women and girls through its inclusive, inspirational community.…Athleta is well-positioned to grow and capture market share.”

Athleta’s biggest competitor is Lululemon but the 11-year-old Gap Inc. division is growing fast and operates 170 stores, Athleta.com and has catalogues.

Laughton was most recently executive vice president of omni-retail at Sephora. Before that she was at Nike Inc. serving as general manager of e-commerce in Europe and director of e-commerce for Nike subsidiaries including Cole Haan, Converse and Hurley. She began her career at McKinsey & Co. focusing on the retail and digital sectors.

Laughton succeeds Nancy Green, who in July became president and chief creative officer of the Old Navy division of Gap Inc.

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