In January 2014, the headline ‘Can Rebekka Bay Save Gap?’ was splashed across Business of Fashion. Another headline, over at Elle.com, read ‘HOW GAP’S NEW DESIGNER PLANS TO REVAMP THE BRAND’. A little over a year later, Bay has been ousted from the American retailer.
Bay was appointed as Gap’s Creative Director in 2012, after gaining recognition for creating minimalist clothing line COS. Once a beacon of speciality retail, Gap has been cost-cutting for some time, with its bosses most recently announcing the closure of its designer shoes and clothing brand Piperlime by the end of April.
In an attempt to revive falling sales, Gap has not only axed Rebekka Bay, but removed the position altogether.
“In evaluating the right leadership structure for the brand” Gap is “eliminating the Creative Director role, resulting in Rebekka Bay’s departure from the company, effective immediately,” Gap wrote in a press release.
The shuffle comes after a year of several attempts to revive the once iconic brand in the face of stagnant sales. As part of the shake-up, the multinational retailer has also announced Gap Inc. veteran Scott Key to the position of Senior Vice President and General Manager of Customer Experience at the Gap brand. He will oversee a newly combined e-commerce and marketing organisation in an attempt to make the brand more customer-focused.
Key previously served in senior roles within the growth, innovation and digital division of Gap and has worked closely with incoming CEO Art Peck, who officially replaces former chief Glenn Murphy next month.
“Now’s the time to intensify our customer focus and break through with a truly dynamic and integrated approach to building relationships with our customers,” said Kirwan. “Scott will help us bring together our marketing and digital expressions so each interaction with our customers is consistent and compelling. It’s a customer-first approach that reflects how people shop today.”
He concluded “as we look to the future, now is the right time to make these changes and focus the brand on delivering casual, American style and building strong relationships with our customers around the world.”