A day after the company announced its CEO transition, current CEO Glenn Murphy and future CEO Art Peck talked about the passing of the reins at a global employee town hall meeting.
The two leaders sat down together and candidly discussed Glenn’s decision to leave the company, and Art’s transition as Gap Inc.’s new CEO as of Feb. 1.
During Glenn’s remaining tenure, the pair will work side-by-side to guarantee a smooth and seamless transition.
“We won’t skip a beat,” Bill Fisher said Thursday, offering comments on behalf of the founding family. “My father will be looking down on this, feeling absolutely wonderful.”
Joined at the meeting by his mother, co-founder Doris Fisher and brother John, Bill added that this is the first time in 20 years that the company has had the benefit of a planned CEO transition such as this.
Under Glenn, Bill said, the company regained its confidence. He ushered in an era of focus and unrelenting commitment to growth. During his seven years at the company, he delivered strong financial results with a compounded annual growth rate earnings per share of 17 percent, and shareholder returns increased more than 160 percent.
Since 2011, topline revenue increased by more than $2 billion. And the company truly went worldwide – Gap Inc. currently does business in 90 countries, compared to 13 in 2007.
“I’ve loved my time at the company – this is a personal decision,” Glenn said of his retirement from Gap Inc., adding that his decision was made easier knowing that Art would be taking the reins.
Art has held leadership positions in nearly every aspect of the company and “exceeded expectations” in every way, said Glenn.
Art, who has been with Gap Inc. for nearly a decade, served as president for Gap North America and is credited with turning the business around, and driving improved sales performance for six consecutive quarters. He has led the acquisition and growth of emerging brands Athleta, Piperlime and Intermix. He was pivotal as the company went global, opening the first 13 franchise countries.
As president of the company’s Growth, Innovation and Digital division, he oversees the company’s ongoing e-commerce expansion and omni-channel offerings. He has frontline experience with the radical changes in the industry as shoppers change their behavior.
When the board approached Art about becoming the next CEO, he said he thought about what it would truly mean.
“Everything I know about being a CEO, I learned from watching Glenn,” Art said. “I wouldn’t want to sit in this seat if not for the work he’s done. I’ve learned from the master.”
Because of the foundation he built, “we will be able to excel in a changing industry,” Art said.
“Great companies during times of change win, and they win big,” he added. “The best creative organizations on the planet are extraordinarily disciplined and it’s that foundation of discipline that will be a big basis of our success going forward. … It’s something we will not let go of as an organization.”