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Gap taps Mattel executive Richard Dickson to be its new CEO

BusinessGap taps Mattel executive Richard Dickson to be its new CEO

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Pedestrians walk past Old Navy and GAP stores in Times Square, New York City.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images

Gap announced Wednesday it’s poached a top Mattel executive to be its new CEO as the apparel giant seeks to reverse an ongoing sales slump and regain its relevancy in the fashion industry.

Richard Dickson, the president and chief operating officer at Mattel, was chosen as Gap’s top boss after a year-long search that began last summer when former CEO Sonia Syngal left the company.

Since then, Gap’s chairman Bob Martin has been serving as interim CEO – a position he didn’t expect to hold as long as he had as the company struggled to find the right person for the role, he told investors during a May earnings call. 

During his tenure with Mattel, Dickson is credited with reviving the Barbie franchise and growing the toymaker’s other top brands, including Hot Wheels and Fisher-Price, according to Mattel.

He first joined Mattel in 2000 and most recently led its global brand portfolio, overseeing strategy, brand marketing, design and development. In the position, he also oversaw franchise management, including licensing and merchandising, live events and digital gaming.

Dickson has also held positions at Bloomingdales and The Jones Group. The Wall Street Journal first reported his appointment to Gap. 

Dickson joins Gap at a low-point in the retailer’s history.

The company has been grappling with a years-long sales slump and a series of leadership shakeups across its portfolio of brands, which includes Athleta, Banana Republic, Old Navy and its namesake banner. 

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Since last fall, Gap has laid off more than 2,000 workers in an effort to streamline operations and cut costs. 

In its most recent quarter ended April 29, sales were down 6% from the year-ago period to $3.28 billion. It reported a quarterly net loss of $18 million, improvement from a loss of $162 million in the prior year. 

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