Gap Taps Gymboree CEO to Lead Banana Republic

Mark Breitbard has led Gymboree since 2010 after an earlier stint with Gap Inc and will return in May to lead struggling Banana Republic.

Gap Inc. tapped Mark Breitbard as president and chief executive officer of Banana Republic, succeeding Andi Owen.

Breitbard will join Banana Republic from Gymboree Inc., where he has been ceo since 2013. He will be report to Gap Inc. president and ceo Art Peck, who will continue to oversee the brand until Breitbard officially comes on board in early May.

“Mark brings significant retail leadership experience to Gap Inc., along with deep knowledge of the company and our customer,” Peck said. “We know what Banana Republic is capable of, and Mark’s ability to drive transformation and innovation will help revitalize the brand and position it to achieve its long-term potential.”

Breitbard previously worked in leadership positions with Gap in North America between 2010 and 2013 and, before that, served from 2009 to 2010 as chief merchandising and creative officer of the Gap Inc. division Old Navy. He has also worked at Levi Strauss & Co. and Abercrombie & Fitch.

“I believe there’s tremendous opportunity for Banana Republic to differentiate itself with optimized product and customer experiences,” Breitbard said. “I’m looking forward to working with the Banana Republic team to build the brand for the future.”

At the end of January, Gymboree said Breitbard was leaving the company and that it was beginning the search for a successor, which has yet to be revealed.

In his new role with Gap Inc., Breitbard will fill the brand president role left open after Owen left Banana Republic last month.

Gap Inc. revealed her departure in January, after another year of disappointing holiday sales, and Peck has been overseeing the brand while a replacement was found.

A company spokeswoman at the time of the announcement did not directly address whether Owen’s departure was forced or voluntary.

Owen joined Gap Inc. in 1991 and held a variety of roles within the company including executive vice president and general manager for Gap Global Outlet and senior vice president and general manager for Banana Republic Factory Stores.

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