Only a surfer knows the feeling!
In stunning announcement it was revealed yesterday that Gap, a clothing brand founded in San Francisco and most famous for its ample thigh’d khaki pants, swooped in and snared Billabong’s current CEO Neil Fiske for its own Chief Executive Officer position.
Though the reasons for appointing anyone who has been involved in the surf industry, especially Billabong, during the last decade to positions of fresh power are myriad, let us read why Gap, second most famous for using a small black girl as an armrest in an advertisement, chose Mr. Fiske.
“Neil brings significant retail and apparel experience to Gap Inc. and a track record of transforming and repositioning brands,” Gap President and CEO Art Peck said in a statement.
Gap brand has struggled in recent years, while the company’s Old Navy brand has been growing. In fiscal first quarter, same-store sales at Gap stores globally fell 4 percent, flat from a year ago.
Fiske will join Gap from Australian clothing brand Billabong, where he has served as CEO of Billabong International. There he helped the Billabong brand return to a position of multiyear share growth. He has also served in executive roles at Eddie Bauer and Bath and Body Works.
“[Fiske] is an experienced leader who deeply understands the mechanics of this business, the value of an omnichannel strategy, and the need to build a progressive and relevant brand. I believe Neil is the right leader to strengthen Gap brand,” Peck said in a statement.
I too like how Billabong was transformed and repositioned into a subsidiary of Quiksilver and how if you ask anyone on the street, “What are the first two words that come to mind when I say ‘Billabong?'” the answer is invariably “Progressive and relevant.”
But real quick, I think I want to be a CEO of something too now. Something that has a big corner office and an even bigger salary. I feel that BeachGrit’s omnichannel strategy (prodding the World Surf League, checking in with Kelly Slater’s Instagram account, longtom) has positioned us for multiyear share growth and that we actually performed better than Billabong this year, not to brag.
Anyone out there hiring?
Souplantation… do you need a Chief Executive?
Sears… how does a bold selection from the sizzling hot surf industry sound?
(A head’s up on this important story came from @seaofseven. Shop today!)