The Many Successes of Art Peck

Art Peck took the helm as CEO of Gap Inc. 13 years ago when he replaced Glenn Murphy. In this high-profile role, he was faced with the challenge of turning around stagnant sales and a brand that was becoming stale. It’s no secret that he rose to the occasion with a belief that restoring the reputation of such an iconic brand required the company to make clothes that people want to wear.

Peck has been involved in just about every aspect of the company, including worldwide expansion. His experience as a management consultant for almost two decades positioned him to excel in this role. He started his career in consulting at Boston Consulting Group. Although he initially thought the position would last for a few years, it ended up being an engagement that lasted for about 20 years. In fact, Peck was first connected with Gap Inc. when Paul Pressler, the former CEO, hired him to work as a consultant.

Prior to becoming a consultant, Art Peck graduated from Occidental College and was accepted into Harvard Business School when he was 20 years old, where he earned an MBA. Peck’s career has become a family affair because he has four children and two of them work for Gap Inc. as Old Navy merchants.

Art Peck is credited with expanding Gap to its current global position. The brand previously had a limited number of stores in Japan and Western Europe, and Peck recommended a franchise strategy as opposed to a wholly-owned model. Gap sold products regionally to third-party local operators that were responsible for all aspects of operations, including technology and real estate. This resulted in more than 400 franchise operated stores.

Peck has shared how Gap’s forty year old business model has continued to work. He expressed value for this kind of stability, despite the potential opportunities offered by disruption. He recognizes that disruptive times can also lead to loss. However, he isn’t shy about making the changes needed to take the brand to the next level. In fact, just before he became CEO, he made major changes at Gap that affected the management team, including the addition of new presidents for both Banana Republic and Gap brands. He also eliminated positions, such as the head of design and CMO.

Art Peck played a key role in starting the Gap’s Red campaign that was launched in 2006. Peck and his wife lived in Africa in the early 1980s and he was emotionally attached to the campaign that helped African children and women with HIV/AIDS. Some of the product for the campaign were sourced in Africa and 50 percent of the profits were donated.

In his personal life, Art Peck is a dedicated runner who is committed to traveling all seven continents to participate in runs. Along with his wife, and sometimes his kids, Peck has visited Table Mountain in South Africa, the Sahara Desert in Morocco and a waterfront in Sydney. He’s also run Manhattan’s Brooklyn bridge, among other locations.