Gap appoints former CEO of Billabong International as new brand czar

Neil Fiske

Neil Fiske, former head of Australian surfwear company Billabong International, is joining Gap Inc. to take on the roles of president and chief executive for the company’s eponymous brand.

He replaces Jeff Kirwin, who left the company earlier this year. Under his leadership, the retailer struggled to grow: during his three years at the helm, the Gap brand managed only one quarter of comparable sales growth.

Fiske will report to reporting to Art Peck, president and chief executive of Gap Inc., which also owns Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athleta. Peck has led the company since 2015.

Prior to joining Billabong, Fiske served as chief executive of Eddie Bauer. He also served as chief executive of Bath & Body Works earlier in his career. According to Gap Inc., he has “20 years of brand building and turnaround experience in specialty retailing.”

“Neil brings significant retail and apparel experience to Gap Inc. and a track record of transforming and repositioning brands,” said Peck in a statement. “He is an experienced leader who deeply understands the mechanics of this business, the value of an omnichannel strategy, and the need to build a progressive and relevant brand. I believe Neil is the right leader to strengthen Gap brand.”

Of his appointment, Fiske added: “Gap is a truly iconic brand that is loved by its customers across the globe, and I am excited about the significant opportunity ahead for us. The brand has made some important progress and I look forward to working with the team to drive improved performance, operational excellence, great merchandising, and distinctive and powerful marketing.”

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