The Business On... Marka Hansen, Former president, Gap North America

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The Independent Online

Former?

Afraid so. Her bosses at the iconic clothier decided now is "the right time for a change in the organisation in order to take Gap brand to a new level". The new level they are hoping to get to is one where sales stop going down. In four years at the helm of the Gap chain in the US, Ms Hansen, 57, has not managed it.



Is this anything to do with the failed bid to change the logo?

Ah, yes, that was a debacle, wasn't it? Ms Hansen okayed a "more contemporary and current" design last year, replacing that clunky blue box logo with a design that just had a small square of blue behind the 'p'. There was an outcry.



So the Twittermob did for her?

It did for her logo. Within a week, Ms Hansen had put the old one back on the website, scrapped plans to rebrand all the stores, and was grovelling on the internet about "missing an opportunity to engage with the online community". But internally, plenty of executives fret that they are stuck with an old-fashioned image.



So her downfall is down to what?

Sales, sales, sales. Specifically, the declining amount of them. Gap's North American sales were down 8 per cent in December, and it is about to admit to its seventh straight year of falling revenues.



Who's hopeless, her or the Gap brand?

Harsh question. Ms Hansen impressed plenty of people as she came up through the ranks. She is a rag trade merchant who loves talking about the latest fashions and dealing with designers. She joined Gap's parent company in 1987 as a merchandising manager for its Banana Republic chain, and was credited with improving results there by adding a splash of colour to its clothes. "Women look pretty in pink," she used to say.



But at Gap?

Ms Hansen has failed to shift its reputation for uninspired basics. Ms Hansen was hailed for improving its jeans and trousers, but tops were a different matter. The problems were always about more than the logo.

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