Disney exec to lead Gap

The Associated Press
Friday September 27, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO — Slumping retailer Gap Inc. is turning to an executive who ran Disneyland to make its turnaround dreams come true. 

Paul Pressler, who had been the head of Walt Disney Co.’s theme park and resort business since 1994, took over as Gap’s chief executive officer Thursday in a move that analysts viewed as a coup for the San Francisco-based company. 

As he leaves behind the land of Mickey Mouse, Pressler will join a business that has been dominated for the past two decades by another Mickey — the Gap’s renowned CEO Millard “Mickey” Drexler. 

Following through on plans that he disclosed in May, Drexler retired Thursday, ending a storied career in which he transformed Gap into one of the world’s best-known retailers. 

The last two years of Drexler’s reign were marred by poor fashion decisions that triggered 28 consecutive months of declining sales — something the Gap is counting on Pressler to change. 

“We are incredibly pleased with the outcome of our search and are greatly looking forward to having Paul lead the company,” said Gap Chairman Donald Fisher.