Apparel chain J Crew Group Inc on Monday announced it has recruited top Gap Inc executive Ken Pilot as its new CEO.

Pilot, aged 41, who will take up his new role on September 9, was most recently president of Gap International, a $1.6 billion operation with more than 650 stores in five countries.

Prior to that he was president of Gap Brand Worldwide with responsibility for merchandising and field operations in the US, UK, France, Germany, Japan and Canada.

He will replace Mark Sarvary who left New York-based J Crew in May amid falling sales at the company’s 189-strong store network. Last month, the firm posted a 14.3 per cent slide in July same-store sales.

In a statement, the J Crew board of directors said: "We're very happy to have a true specialty apparel retailer as our new CEO. Ken brings years of big brand successes as an operator, in addition to his history with Macy's and Gap as a merchant. He has all the right qualifications to take the company to the next level."

Pilot added: "I'm very excited to be part of such a great brand with tremendous growth potential. I've always admired J Crew's ability to creatively express their brand and product through their catalogue, online and in stores.

"I'm thrilled to have an opportunity to be part of the team and look forward to building upon the brand's strong heritage as we focus on driving comp store sales and improving profitability."

Gap said Pilot’s replacement will come from within the company.