Skip to content

Business Week on Former Disney Exec

  • by

Louise Lee at Business Week tells us about "Paul Pressler’s Fall From The Gap."  Paul Pressler was at The Disney Store before becoming Disneyland Resort President, and then to Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, which included the Disney Cruise line and Walt Disney Imagineering.  Some of this article sounds awfully familiar.

The immediate post-mortem analysis: He was a numbers guy who didn’t appreciate the nuances of the fashion business. That’s true, but it’s only part of the story. Pressler’s problems involved more than just a few bad bets on colors and styles. According to 12 former employees interviewed by BusinessWeek, he also bungled some of the very things that were supposed to be his strengths, including cost-cutting campaigns, human resources initiatives, and supply chain streamlining efforts. One ex-employee characterizes Pressler’s tenure as "total system failure."

But wait, there’s more.

Pressler’s management shortcomings were particularly visible at the company’s most important division: its flagship Gap brand. The story of his failed effort to fix this once-proud chain, insiders say, is a classic demonstration of what can happen when a talented man is handed the wrong mission. "He is a skilled leader and he understands how to build a team, but unfortunately he didn’t build a team for the particular challenges Gap faced," says a former insider. "Maybe he was the wrong guy at the wrong time."

The article goes on to talk about alienating longtime customers and ticking off employees with slogans and meetings about changing the company culture.  It talks about changing the design process, and putting former Disneyland Resort President Cynthia Harriss into the Gap brand President spot.