Gap CMO Alegra O’Hare Steps Down Less Than a Year After Appointment

Company shares fell 25% last year and CEO Art Peck left in November

Portrait of Alegra O
Alegra O'Hare was honored as one of Adweek's Brand Geniuses in 2017. - Credit by GAP
Headshot of Kathryn Lundstrom

After joining Gap in February, CMO Alegra O’Hare has left the company.

“Alegra is no longer with Gap. We thank her for her time with the brand and wish her the best,” a company spokesperson told Adweek. “As we look ahead, we will be redefining the role of the chief marketing officer.”

Last year was a tumultuous one for the company. In May, Gap shares plummeted 28% after reporting low first-quarter earnings. Through the rest of 2019, Gap’s stocks never really recovered—it ended the year with a 25% lower stock value than what it began with.

But Gap Inc.—the parent company to Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Athleta and several others—was in trouble even before then. After a brief peak, the conglomerate’s stock took a downward turn at the start of 2018, and the family of brands was suffering a series of missed earnings targets.

In response, Gap Inc. CEO Art Peck announced a plan in February 2019 to spin off Old Navy into a separate company. O’Hare, following a celebrated 10 years at Adidas, was also brought on that month as Gap CMO in an effort to refresh the conglomerate’s namesake brand. In November, O’Hare took the stage at Adweek’s Brandweek summit and told the audience that the way forward for Gap required “change and innovation” to keep the company from becoming “complacent.” She put her stamp on Gap’s advertising by focusing on iconic brand staples like the signature logo hoodie and classic jean styles. The approach harkened back to the brand’s focus on the timeless appeal of khakis in the 1990s, running ads showing old photos of iconic figures like Miles Davis, Ernest Hemingway and Amelia Earhart sporting the classic trousers.

Later that week, Peck was dismissed. Chairman of the board Robert J. Fisher replaced him as interim president and CEO.

The board, it turns out, wasn’t a fan of spinning off Old Navy. Last week, Gap said it was scrapping the plan. In the same announcement, the retail conglomerate announced that Gap brand CEO Neil Fiske would be leaving.

During O’Hare’s decade-long tenure as vice president of global brand communications for Adidas Originals and Style, she led campaigns and brand innovations like the 2017 Cannes Lions Grand Prix-winning campaign “Original Is Never Finished,” which embodied a spirit similar to the one she was attempting to infuse into the Gap brand. That year, O’Hare was honored as one of Adweek’s Brand Geniuses.

Gap turned 50 last year. With so many departures and another strategic shift, it’s unclear where Gap Inc. or its namesake brand are headed.


@klundster kathryn.lundstrom@adweek.com Kathryn Lundstrom is Adweek's breaking news reporter based in Austin.
Publish date: January 22, 2020 https://dev.adweek.com/retail/gap-cmo-alegra-ohare-steps-down-less-than-a-year-after-appointment/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT