In what has to be among the most expected news in corporate
business, Gap brand president Cynthia Harriss, who followed Paul
Pressler from The Disney Stores to the Disneyland Resort to The Gap,
Inc., has left following the resignation of Paul Pressler as CEO of The Gap, Inc.
Following Harriss’ departure, four of the remaining
senior executives at Gap Inc. share a Disney pedigree and joined the
San Francisco retailer after Pressler arrived in September 2002. They
* Toby Lenk, President Gap Inc. Direct
* Byron Pollitt, executive vice president and chief financial officer
* Eva Sage-Gavin, executive vice president human resources
* Michael Tasooji, executive vice president and chief information officer
Harriss was seen as the most vulnerable of the Disney alums on the Gap
payroll. Like Pressler, Harriss had neither a strong merchandising nor
fashion background — something Gap’s board said is now paramount.
Although I think the post-Wells combination of Michael Eisner and Paul
Pressler made some big mistakes at the Disneyland Resort, I found
Pressler and Harriss to be personally likable people. I was once in a
meeting with her and ony two or three coworkers of mine, so it was a
chance to really interact with her up close and behind the scenes.
Harriss seemed to enjoy her role as Disneyland President.
it humorous to watch the group of execs bounce from company to company
together, but something later in the article reminds of a similar forms
of corporate governance:
Lorraine Maikis, a Merrill Lynch analyst wrote in a
research note that Pressler’s departure and the temporary assumption of
Bob Fisher, son of Gap’s co-founders, signifies a commitment to turning
around the brands rather than selling the company.
Today, "nepotism" is often cited as a negative in employment and
business, but sometimes there IS something to be said for getting the
family involved. After all, if your siblings or children are running
the division of a corporation you built, you’re going to have the
advantage of knowing exactly who you are dealing with and how to work
with them to get the results you want. Think of how Walt and Roy
worked together. You can see Donald Trump doing this on TV every
week. Pressler and the execs who follow him from place to place may
have some kind of sibling-like bond by now. Hopefully, they’ll find a
place where they can make things better for the employees, the
shareholders, the customers, and themselves.