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Gap Poaches Top Mattel Exec as Its New CEO in a Bid to Boost Declining Sales Richard Dickson was hired for his expertise in brand transformation.

By Madeline Garfinkle

Key Takeaways

  • Gap has appointed Richard Dickson its new CEO amid declining sales across its brands.
  • Under Dickson's leadership at Mattel, Barbie saw significant improvements in image through creative marketing, diverse product offerings and brand collaborations.
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On Wednesday, Gap announced it has hired Richard Dickson, the current president and COO of toymaker Mattel, as its new president and chief executive officer. The company has experienced a prolonged search for a new CEO since Sonia Syngal's departure in July of last year.

"Richard has invaluable expertise in areas critical to the work Gap Inc. is doing to strengthen the company for the long term," Mayo A. Shattuck III, lead independent director of Gap, said in the release.

Gap, which owns brands like Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athleta, has been facing declining sales and increased competition from online retailers. In May, Gap reported a net sales decline of 6%, per its Q1 2023 earnings report.

"Gap has lost its brand relevance with its core consumer," Jonathan Reid, director of retail and consumer at Fitch Ratings, told The New York Times. "It's unclear where the brand sits. That was Mattel a few years ago."

Dickson served as President and COO of Mattel for almost 10 years, where he oversaw a portfolio of global brands and played a significant role in the company's transformation. John Aquino/WWD/Penske Media | Getty Images.

Under Dickson's leadership, Mattel successfully improved Barbie's image through creative marketing campaigns, diverse Barbie dolls and brand collaborations. The Greta Gerwig-directed Barbie had a blockbuster opening weekend, grossing $162 million, further highlighting Barbie's revival.

Related: From an Airbnb Stay at Barbie's Malibu DreamHouse to Frozen Yogurt Flavors and Park Benches—The 'Barbie' Movie Team Is Going All In on Marketing

Dickson, who was appointed to Gap's board in November 2022, will step down from Mattel on August 3 and join Gap on August 22.

"It's the work ahead that excites me most — the chance to work hand-in-hand with the teams to evolve Gap Inc. for a new era," Dickson said in a statement.

Gap's stock, which has declined 12% this year, rose by 8% on Wednesday following the announcement, per the NYT.

Madeline Garfinkle

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

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