When Gap Inc. and Paul Pressler parted ways yesterday, it wasn’t because the CEO hadn’t repaired the balance sheet or wasn’t a popular leader. It was partly because of scenes like the one following, described by a former executive at the retailer.
During top managers’ final reviews of the products for an upcoming season, Mr. Pressler — a former Walt Disney Co. executive who often acknowledged that understanding fashion was not his strength — simply asked questions about the merchandise, rather than making decisions. After he left the room, his charges huddled and, like Kremlinologists, tried to deconstruct his remarks and reinterpret them as orders. As a result, they frequently fussed over trivial issues such as how the woven shirts should be folded, or whether the legs of the khaki pants should hang off the table. A larger sense of direction never became clear.
The second-guessing and arguing over minutiae have led to bland merchandise, driven away executives and added to the sense that Gap is stagnating, according to former employees. Gap’s same-store sales, which are sales at stores open at least a year, have declined compared with a year earlier in all but two of the last 24 months.
Sounds like the GOP on the Hill.