Gap Inc. on Thursday announced that longtime CEO and President Art Peck will step down from those roles and his board position, after a brief transition.
Board Chairman Robert Fisher, of the founding Fisher family, has taken the job of interim chief executive, effective immediately, according to a company press release. Fisher has worked at the company for 35 years in various senior executive positions, including interim president and chief executive officer. He's been on the board since 1990 and has served as non-executive chairman since 2015, the company said.
The company had previously said that Peck would take the reins at the entity, also to be known as Gap Inc., (comprising the Gap brand, Athleta and a slew of smaller brands) once its well-performing Old Navy discount banner is spun off early next year.
Peck has been a cheerleader for the planned split of Old Navy from its parent, and even for the struggling namesake brand that Fisher's family founded in San Francisco during the Summer of Love.
The separation plans are rife with risk, however, especially in light of recent, uncharacteristic trouble at Old Navy where comps have declined for four straight quarters. That, and a dearth of details, led Wells Fargo analysts in a recent client note to question the timing, and possibly the wisdom.
Credit Suisse analyst Michael Binetti on Thursday said in a client note that Peck's departure, and the fact the company made no mention of the spinoff in its announcement, justified that firm's recent downgrade.
In its release, the company also reported that third quarter comparable sales fell 4% company wide, and at each of its major brands. Comps fell 7% at Gap, 3% at Banana Republic and 4% at Old Navy. The company also lowered its earning guidance for the year.