UPDATE: January 24, 2020: Gap confirmed O'Hare's departure in an email to Retail Dive Thursday. "Alegra is no longer with Gap, we thank her for her time with the brand and wish her the best. As we look ahead, we will be redefining the role of the Chief Marketing Officer," a spokesperson said in the statement.
Alegra O'Hare is leaving the Gap brand after less than a year on the job, according to several news reports.
The brand is reportedly revamping the role. Gap Inc. didn't immediately return Retail Dive's request for comment.
O'Hare, brought to Gap in February 2019 after over a decade at Adidas, released her first marketing campaign last summer and more recently a sentimental holiday spot that aired on social media platforms and streaming services.
O'Hare had reported to Gap brand chief Neil Fiske, who left at the same time the company pulled the plug on its Old Navy plans. She had just begun to make her mark, which has entailed leveraging the Gap brand's heritage as a half-century old former icon while also bringing it into the 21st century. Her spots included ethnic diversity and body positivity, and her marketing outlets had favored social media and streaming services over traditional airwaves.
She is now exiting at a vulnerable time, with the company led by an interim CEO who is also the founder's son and no clear path now that its spinoff plans have been canceled.
Whatever is next when it comes to marketing, the Gap brand continues to face a reckoning. The brand saw third quarter comps tumble 7%, which was the same as the year prior. Overall, Gap Inc. sales remain robust — fiscal 2018 net sales reached $16.6 billion — and the company earlier this month said that its performance in 2019 was better than expected. Still, while total company fiscal 2019 comparable sales and net sales are both expected to be at the higher end of its previous guidance, that means down mid-single digits and down low-single digits, respectively, according to a company press release.
The company, which has floundered for years now and spun a revolving door in some roles (including the marketing position), is now under close scrutiny. Its problems, especially at Gap, remain "fixable," but also dire, according to Jeff Sward, CEO of Merchandising Metrics.
"Gap rose to prominence based on brilliant marketing of pretty straightforward product. They are now losing relevance based on very mediocre marketing of overly safe product," he told Retail Dive in an email. "What's memorable about Gap these days? Neither product nor marketing. That's just not a formula for success in today's market."