On Monday morning, I was sitting at my desk, watching the rain drench the cactuses and succulents, when I got a text from an Old Navy employee. It was a screenshot of an email from Gap Inc. C.E.O. Richard Dickson, welcoming Zac Posen, of ball gowns and Brooks Brothers, to the company. Posen’s titles would be creative director of Gap Inc.—the parent company of Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, and Athleta—and chief creative officer of Old Navy. After some quick reporting, I gleaned that Posen would serve as sort of a thought partner to Dickson, in an almost advisory role, at the parent company. The Old Navy job, though, was day-to-day. Design, merchandising, and marketing would now report to Posen. And, yes, he was moving to San Francisco.
This was the move the world was waiting for from Dickson, who joined Gap Inc. from Mattel in the savior C.E.O. role in August of last year. He was advised by one of my sources to “fire everyone.” And yet, the supposedly doomed Banana Republic team is still there. (Layoffs have yet to commence.) And no one—no one!—could have imagined the play would be for Posen.