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GAP Inc names Old Navy chief Sonia Syngal as new CEO

Washington, DC: America’s largest apparel retailer Gap Inc has named Indian-American Sonia Syngal as its new CEO.

India-born Syngal, who moved to Canada and later to the US with her family when she was a child, is the highest-ranked Indian-American female CEO of a Fortune 500 company after Indra Nooyi stepped down as PepsiCo head in 2018. Gap Inc, which has revenues of $18 billion, is ranked 186th in the Fortune 500 list. It is currently the largest specialty retailer in the United States, with approximately 135,000 employees and 3,727 stores worldwide, including 2400 in the U.S.

Syngal, 49, has worked in several Fortune 500 companies, including 10 years at Sun Microsystems and six years at Ford Motor Co. before she joined Gap Inc. in 2004. She went on to become CEO of Old Navy, Gap’s value chain, after leading the portfolio’s global supply chain and product-to-market model and serving as Managing Director of Gap Inc. Europe.

Robert Fisher, the son of Gap’s founders who has served as interim CEO while the company looked for a permanent replacement, said that Syngal will “deliver value from our portfolio of brands over the long term.” GAP owned brands include Old Navy, Banana Republic, Athleta, and Hill City.

Although the number of women heading of Fortune500 companies is now at a record high at 33, they constitute less only around 6 per cent of female CEOs. The list is headed by General Motors’ Mary Barra, the first female CEO of a major automaker. IBM’s Ginni Rometty, who was # 3 on the list, recently made way for Indian-American Arvind Krishna.

Syngal, who earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Kettering University in 1993 and her Master’s in Manufacturing Systems Engineering from Stanford University in 1995, is also a mother of two kids, now 17 and 20. “I like to think that how I’ve learned to care as a mom has helped me approach my work with the same heart,” she said in a recent interview on working moms.

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