Indian origin Sonia Syngal named new CEO of Gap Inc

Only 6.6 pc of all Fortune 500 CEOs are women

Diaspora

March 11, 2020

/ By / Kolkata



Indian-American Sonia Syngal became the new CEO for America’s largest apparel retailer Gap Inc. She is the highest ranked Indian-American female CEO of a Fortune 500 company after Indra Nooyi stepped down as PepsiCo head in 2018.

Indian-origin Sonia Syngal is set to take charge of Gap Inc, the largest apparel retailer in America, from March 23 as the chief executive officer (CEO). The 49-year old will be the highest ranked India-American female CEO of a Fortune 500 after the Indian-American head of PepsiCo, Indra Nooyi stepped down in 2018.

Syngal, who was born in India and raised in Canada when her family migrated to the country, is now settled in the United States. She completed her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Kettering University and masters in manufacturing systems engineering from Stanford University.  She was the head of the Gap’s Old Navy unit since 2016. Previous to that she had handled the posts of executive vice-president for global supply chain and product operations at Gap. With this new post, she has entered the small group of female CEOs running Fortune 500 companies.

“It’s an honour to build on this company’s rich heritage and lead our nearly 130,000 employees in transforming our business and operations to successfully compete in the future,” Syngal stated.

About her new role, she commented, “I’m committed to fully realising the potential of our portfolio and the advantage of our scale, with a focus on strengthening the love that our millions of customers have for our brands. To do that, we must better prioritise initiatives and capabilities that will improve execution and drive value creation.”

Robert Fisher, the son of Gap’s founders, Donald Fisher and Doris F Fisher, who was serving as the interim CEO while the company was in lookout for a permanent replacement, said that Syngal will, “deliver value from our portfolio of brands over the long term.” Another post of executive chairman was also handed over to Bobby Martin, a Gap board member and former CEO of Walmart Inc’s international business.

Prior to joining Gap, Syngal had worked in Fortune 500 product companies like Sun Microsystems where she led manufacturing operations, logistics and supply chain management, and at Ford Motor Co in the roles of product design, quality and manufacturing engineering.

Syngal has been linked to Gap since 2004 and during her term, Old Navy saw its presence in North America increase to more than 1,200 stores in the US, Canada and Mexico in three years. Also during her tenure, the Old Navy sales reached USD 8 billion from USD 7 billion in three years and also became the fourth largest apparel site in the US on e-commerce site.

While the number of women CEO of Fortune 500 companies has reached 33, it still just represents 6.6 pc of all Fortune 500 CEOs and female CEOs of immigrant origins are even lower.

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