Why Ousted JCPenney President Michael Francis Is A Brilliant Hire For Gap

michael francis

Photo: jcpenney.com

Gap is the turnaround story of the year after shuffling management, putting better products in stores and dramatically improving sales.The largest U.S. retailer announced yesterday it had hired former JCPenney president Michael Francis to help advise marketing. Francis was ousted from JCPenney a few weeks ago after the company’s series of bizarre ads failed to resonate with the customers. 

Hiring Francis after such a public blunder seemed counterintuitive, even risky, for a company like Gap. But Francis actually has the skills it takes to help execute a turnaround, said Brian Sozzi, an analyst at NBG Productions. 

Francis is largely credited for brilliant marketing at Target, where he worked before JCPenney. His ability to connect with the value-conscious customers could help Gap improve performance at Old Navy, its weakest brand. 

Old Navy is notorious for having a marketing identity crisis and frequently changing up its campaigns. Its latest series of ads, “Funnovations Inc.,” feature a whimsical factory with Old Navy products.

But if Francis doesn’t deliver, CEO Glenn Murphy likely won’t keep him around Gap for very long.

“The CEO, in my view, has been quick to mix it up in terms of changing staff that is not getting the job done,” Sozzi said.

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