Fiske will begin his new role on 20 June and will serve on the company’s senior leadership team, reporting to Art Peck

Fiske will begin his new role on 20 June and will serve on the company’s senior leadership team, reporting to Art Peck

US speciality clothing retailer Gap Inc has named former Billabong CEO, Neil Fiske, as president and chief executive officer (CEO) of its Gap brand.

Fiske will begin his new role on 20 June and will serve on the company's senior leadership team, reporting to Art Peck, president and CEO of Gap Inc.

"Neil brings significant retail and apparel experience to Gap Inc and a track record of transforming and repositioning brands," says Peck. "He is an experienced leader who deeply understands the mechanics of this business, the value of an omnichannel strategy, and the need to build a progressive and relevant brand. I believe Neil is the right leader to strengthen Gap brand."

Fiske has 20 years of brand building and turnaround experience in speciality retailing, most recently as CEO at embattled Australian surfwear brand Billabong International, which was recently acquired by global action sports and lifestyle company Boardriders. Prior to Billabong, Fiske served as president and CEO at outdoor outfitter Eddie Bauer.

"Gap is a truly iconic brand that is loved by its customers across the globe, and I am excited about the significant opportunity ahead for us," he says. "The brand has made some important progress and I look forward to working with the team to drive improved performance, operational excellence, great merchandising, and distinctive and powerful marketing."

The San Francisco based retailer has been on a multi-year journey to try to streamline its Gap unit business, tackling everything from faster and more responsive product processes to reduce time from concept to shelf, improved quality and fit, and focusing the brand on a casual, optimistic and American aesthetic. But the business is still struggling to make headway, with inventory issues the latest challenge to weigh on performance.

Billabong, too, has had a bumpy road of late. The takeover by Boardriders, the company behind rival Quiksilver, came as the surfwear brand was in the midst of a multi-year initiative to try to turn around its business, including the sale of some of its smaller labels in a bid to focus on its three "big brands" – Billabong, RVCA and Element – and drive down debt.