We’ve always associated the Gap with the sunny, easy going way of life embodied by San Francisco, but apparently the company thinks being there is not a good way to run a business. Last week, shortly after former president Marka Hansen was ousted, the company announced that it would be setting up a “global creative center” in New York City.
The San Francisco Chronicle takes the move as a suggestion that the fair city it reports on is not a sufficiently creative locale, but company representatives say the move has nothing to do with a lack of inspiration in the city by the bay.
“In many cases, we have been challenged by being a San Francisco-based company that has retail stores around the world,” Pam Wallack, the center’s appointed head, explained to the Financial Times.
We thought the company had been plagued by a series of bad decisions at the executive level, but maybe a new point of view wouldn’t be a bad thing. Then again, the company has always had some kind of foothold in New York City — it’s one of the world’s fashion capitals, after all. So what’s actually changing at the Gap?
“We’ve always resided in New York,” said spokeswoman Louise Callagy, rebutting any notion that San Francisco should henceforth be considered chopped liver. “Our global design R&D (and other operations) have always been there. It’s not shifting, it’s creating. What’s different is that we’ll be able to serve Europe, Asia, all our business operations abroad, equally. And, because much of the talent in design and marketing, let’s be honest, is in New York.”
It’s a pretty vague answer, to be sure, but after the various scandals with logo design and product sourcing the company has had in the last few months, we’re going to go ahead and say that a fresh start somewhere else is a good thing. Meanwhile, the company’s new CEO Art Peck will remain in San Francisco, and “very few, if any” of the company’s 5,000 or so employees will be fired.
And while the impact the location of the new global creative center will have on the brand remains to be seen, we’re just glad no one else at the company has to lose their job.
Gap follows its creative muse from S.F. to N.Y. [San Francisco Chronicle]