Gap Reinstates CMO Role, Hiring From PepsiCo to Drive Brand Revival

Ex-Nike and Apple exec Fabiola Torres fills a seat left vacant since 2022

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As it marches ahead with its turnaround plan, Gap has reinstated its chief marketing officer position, hiring PepsiCo’s Fabiola Torres to fill it with a global remit.

Torres will be the first person in two years to sit in Gap’s CMO seat, which has remained unoccupied since the departure of Mary Alderete in 2022.

The exec was most recently svp and CMO of energy drinks at Pepsi, where her responsibilities also included overseeing the CPG giant’s Hispanic business unit.

Before that, Torres was vp of global marketing at Apple. She’s also a Nike veteran, having spent almost two decades working in senior marketing roles from its Portland headquarters.

Her arrival at Gap comes as the retailer is executing a strategy refresh designed to help it revive sales and recapture the glory of its ‘90s heyday.

Torres will oversee marketing, creative, PR, visual merchandising and more. She will work with senior figures including Gap’s head of marketing, Erika Everett.

While many companies including Starbucks are ditching the global CMO role, in a memo sent to employees, Mark Breitbard, CEO and president of the Gap brand, said bringing these teams under one person would provide “a more cohesive experience across all markets and channels for our customers.”

In a LinkedIn post, Torres said she was “looking forward to being a part of the next chapter of this brand, building its future and championing Gap’s amazing legacy.”

ADWEEK has reached out to Gap for comment on the hire.

Bridging the culture gap

In late 2023, Gap poached Richard Dickson from Barbie owner Mattel to help it strengthen the eponymous retail group’s catalog of brands—including Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic.

Dickson said he wanted to bring “crisp identities and purpose” to each store to counter years of sluggish sales. “We have to communicate through innovative marketing to regain a powerful ongoing voice in the cultural conversation,” he told investors on arrival.

He added: “We need to do this while consistently executing with excellence at every touch point and interaction.”

Since then, Gap Inc. has named a new creative director, Zac Posen, to help revitalize its product range. Meanwhile, the Gap brand has been generating its own buzz with a series of ad campaigns squarely aimed at Gen Z, including “Linen Moves,” a crisp, reimagined take on TikTok-famous music video “Back on 74” by Jungle, fronted by South African Grammy-winning artist Tyla.

In March, it also unveiled a ’90s-themed clothing collab with fashion label Palace.

More recently, Gap dressed Da’Vine Joy Randolph in an all-denim Gap gown for the Met Gala.

Early signs indicate that leaning into nostalgia and entertainment marketing are paying off for Gap’s parent company. In Q4 of 2023, Gap Inc. reported a 1% rise in net sales to $4.3 billion, turning a profit of $185 million. This was up from the same period in 2022, when it reported a net loss of $273 million.

However, Everett and Torres will also have to restore a sense of purpose to the brand, with Statista finding that while Gap is recognized by 90% of online shoppers in the U.S., just 25% buy from the retailer.

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