Steve Pearson has quit Gap to join Ai as the company's senior vice president for business development. He is the latest in a line of senior executives to leave the California-based company over the past year. Mr Pearson, who had been with Gap for over 21 years, worked in a range of merchandising, production and sourcing positions. Prior to joining Ai, Steve was the company's vice president for international sourcing and technical services.The news comes after Lazard LLC retail industry analyst Todd Slater downgraded his investment rating for Gap Inc from buy to hold and lowered his 12-month price target to $36 a share from $55. Slater believes it will be difficult for Gap to sustain its record high margins and the changes at executive level are also a cause for concern, just-style reported on July 11."We are hopeful that the company's new merchandising initiatives at the Gap and Old Navy brands will bear fruit in the second half," Slater said. "While this could well happen, there is increasing risk that a slowing consumer, combined with accelerating supply, could conspire to pressure margins and cause a greater deceleration in earning growth than is already forecasted."Walter T. Wilhelm, President of Ai, commented on Mr Pearson's appointment: "Steve brings a wealth of experience and expertise that can help Ai to better position the company's products and services."Mr Pearson's new responsibilities include identifying product and strategic partnership opportunities for the sewn goods vertical B2B marketplace for apparel, footwear, textile and accessory producers. Using his experience in sourcing and procurement, he will build partnerships around the world that compliment Ai's core application of online collaborative product development. About AiAi is an ICG (www.internetcapital.com) partner, one of over 60 of their investments focused on global B2B marketplaces. For additional information visit