AMERICA’S largest apparel retail giant Gap Inc has named Indian-American Sonia Syngal as its new chief executive officer (CEO), effective from March 23.
The latest move by the business marks a rare elevation of a woman despite her colour and origin in the white-dominated US corporate world.
Gap Inc described Syngal, 46, as an accomplished retail leader and CEO of the portfolio’s Old Navy business since 2016.
Syngal will also join the Gap Inc. board of directors. As Gap Inc.’s new boss, her top priority will be strengthening the performance of the portfolio.
Prior to joining Gap Inc in 2004, Syngal had a long career in Fortune 500 product companies, including Sun Microsystems and Ford Motor where she worked for a decade and six years, respectively.
India-born Syngal moved to Canada and later to the US with her family when she was a child.
She is the top ranked Indian-American female CEO of a Fortune 500 company after Indra Nooyi stepped down as PepsiCo from the helm in 2018.
The company’s net sales were $16.6 billion in the fiscal year 2018.
Gap Inc with revenues of $18bn, is ranked 186th in the Fortune 500 list and is the largest speciality retailer in the US, with around 135,000 employees and 3,727 stores globally, including 2,400 in the US.
Bob Fisher, interim Gap Inc. CEO and current chair of the company’s board of directors, said: “Sonia has all of the characteristics and experiences needed to effectively execute the work ahead. She is an excellent operator who drives innovation and decisive action, and she leads with both vision and heart.”
Commenting on her appointment, Syngal said: “It’s an honour to build on this company’s rich heritage and lead our nearly 130,000 employees in transforming our business and operations to successfully compete in the future.
“I’m committed to fully realising the potential of our portfolio and the advantage of our scale, with a focus on strengthening the love that our millions of customers have for our brands”.
Syngal led Old Navy from $7bn to $8bn in sales in just three years, expanding its North American presence to more than 1,200 stores in the US, Canada and Mexico, scaling its ecommerce site to the fourth largest apparel site in the US.
Gap Inc. is a leading global retailer selling clothing, accessories, and personal care products for men, women and children under the Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta, Intermix, Janie and Jack and Hill City brands.
It operates in more than 90 countries worldwide through company-operated stores, franchise stores and e-commerce sites.