Can Rebekka Bay revive Gap? Chain hires designer behind H&M”s upscale sister, after firing hoped “saviour” Patrick Robinson last year

Can Rebekka Bay revive Gap Chain hires designer behind H&M's upscale sister, after firing hoped 'saviour' Patrick Robinson last year
Rebekka Bay launched the stylish European brand COS, owned by H&M, in 2006She fills the spot vacated by Patrick Robinson, who was ousted from the company in May 2011

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UPDATED:

19:44 GMT, 17 September 2012

Gap has a new woman on the block, today announcing Rebekka Bay as the company's new creative director and executive vice president.

It has been more than a year since Gap fired design director Patrick Robinson, and his replacement has an impressive background.

Ms Bay, 42, who developed and launched the much-loved and stylishly successful COS brand owned by H&M, will be responsible for the Women’s, Men’s, 1969, Accessories and Body lines.

Management shuffles: Mr Robinson's departure follows a series of and organisational changes aimed at reviving sagging sales of the brand

Management shuffles: Mr Robinson's departure
follows a series of organisational changes aimed at reviving sagging
sales of the brand

Filling the spot vacated by Mr Robinson, 45, who was ousted after initially being hailed as Gap's 'saviour', Ms Bay aims to be its second coming.

Gap International President Stephen Sunnucks said in a statement released today: 'We've taken the time to identify the right creative leader for Gap and we've found that in Rebekka.

'We're confident that Rebekka's approach to design, along with her considerable international experience, will allow her to help us build upon the momentum we're delivering in the business today.'

Ms Bay conceptualized, developed and launched the COS brand, now successful across Europe, Asia and the Middle East, in 2006.

New era: Gap has a new woman on the block, today announcing Rebekka Bay as the company's new creative director and executive vice president

New era: Gap has a new woman on the block, today announcing Rebekka Bay as the company's new creative director and executive vice president

Since 2011, she served as creative
director at Bruuns Bazaar, overseeing the designer of women's and men's
apparel – which under her direction saw the Danish fashion house successfully established itself as a forerunner of new modernism
showing directional, contemporary and edited collections of high quality
to great acclaim and distinguished reviews.

Ms Bay is signing up with Gap at a time when the clothing chain is showing evidence of a turnaround.

It reported in mid-August a 29per cent increase in second-quarter net income, with the fashion retailer's more brightly colored trendy looks winning over shoppers.

Ms Bay is one of several key appointments that Gap Inc, which also owns Old Navy, Banana Republic and Piperlime, has been making to fortify its business.

Leaving: Gap Inc has announced that its design director Patrick Robinson, 44, will be leaving the company with immediate effect

Fired: Gap Inc announced that its design
director Patrick Robinson, 44, would be leaving the company with
immediate effect in May 2011

Flagging: Mr Robinson had some successes, like the Premium Pant Collection, but Gap revenues continued to suffer for six straight years

Flagging: Mr Robinson had some successes, like
the Premium Pant Collection, but Gap revenues continued to suffer for
six straight years

Last week, the company said that Michael
Francis, the former J.C. Penney president and chief marketing officer
at Target Corp., will become the company's marketing creative adviser
starting Monday.

He is expected to provide guidance to the company's marketing teams across the company.

In April, the company named Stef Larsson, former head of global sales for H&M, as president of the Old Navy brand. He'll start by the end of October, replacing Tom Wyatt, who resigned in February.

In February 2011, a management shake-up ended with a new president for the Gap brand, and in May 2011 Mr Robinson was fired after suffering an annual drop in a key revenue measure for six straight years including 2010.