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Gap has hired Richard Dickson from Mattel as its new CEO after an absence of one year, recognizing him for helping bring new life and excitement back into their Barbie franchise. Dickson will oversee Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athleta brands. He was instrumental in revitalizing its Barbie franchise for new generations of customers. On August 22, he will assume Gap's top role, with experience that may help reinvigorate legacy brands for consumers. 1. Dickson’s Turnaround of Mattel’s Barbie Brand Mattel CEO Richard Dickson is widely recognized for reviving the Barbie brand, and now faces the daunting task of revitalizing a retail chain once seen as one of America's mall brand darlings - but has lost much of its luster over recent years. Gap, which operates Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athleta brands has struggled due to weak demand for casual apparel leading to management changes and store closings. Dickson will assume control at Gap in August after succeeding interim CEO Bob Martin and will receive an annual base salary of $1.4 million. "Richard brings invaluable expertise in areas critical for shaping Gap Inc. for an enduring future," according to lead independent director Mayo Shattuck III in a statement. Retail giant Wal-Mart has been grappling with declining sales and changing consumer tastes, as it struggles to tailor stores and e-commerce platforms for millennial shoppers. Over the past year, its stock has declined 40% - and top executives such as its former CEO Sonia Syngal have left, including one notable resignation following an unfavorable Wall Street Journal article. Dickson spearheaded Mattel's turnaround by producing more diverse dolls of various ethnicities and body types; developing brand partnerships to raise brand recognition; streamlining management; cutting jobs; consolidating stores with online retail operations and merging both. As Dickson seeks to restore Gap's struggling brand, he will draw from both his experience at Mattel and success in apparel industry. Working alongside Gap teams he said in a statement he is eager to bring modernity back into their brands: "I'm excited to work hand-in-hand with our teams and the board to evolve Gap Inc. for a new era of American fashion," said he in closing. His arrival coincides with Margot Robbie being cast in Barbie movie which could potentially revive interest in its iconic doll and toy maker: Mattel have cast actress Margot Robbie who can star in movie which could bring attention back into mainstream awareness of what the doll represents; her participation will likely help bring more people than ever before about her brand! 2. Dickson’s Strategic Playbook Gap has long been known for providing comfortable basics. Unfortunately, over the years it's become less and less relevant as mall retailers face increasing e-commerce competition and direct-to-consumer offerings. Last July, they fired CEO Sonia Syngal after only two years on the job, replacing her with board chairman Bob Martin as interim CEO over its namesake brand, Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athleta divisions. Gap also recently suffered embarrassment by its partnership with Kanye West's Yeezy apparel line before pulling merchandise off shelves following controversial antisemitic statements made by Kanye West himself. Dickson joins a company struggling to increase revenue and regain its place as a top global fashion and lifestyle brand, yet may face challenges restoring its iconic image and increasing stock value following recent missteps by management. Dickson is an expert brand builder, so his experience and skills make him well suited to assisting Gap in its repositioning efforts, although longstanding issues will likely present themselves. Re-invigorating products, revamping supply chains, and reinvigorating company culture will all require work on his part to restore stability at Gap. Dickson was instrumental in turning Mattel back into a power brand during his tenure with Mattel, helping it regain consumer trust for popular lines such as Barbie, Hotwheels, Fischer-Price and others like Hotwheels and Fischer-Price. Gap is counting on Dickson to revitalize their namesake brand as well as any subsidiary brands to ensure its future success. Dickson has become known for creating engaging content that reinvigorates consumer appreciation for brands they know well like Lego and Disney, through high-quality films designed to attract a new generation of fans. The Barbie movie, starring Margot Robbie and featuring music by Dua Lipa, represents the crown jewel of this reinvention effort. A major theater event may provide just what's necessary to reinvigorate its brand relaunch - yet even innovative brands must deliver products to market in a way that resonates with target consumers and maintain their interest over time. 3. Dickson’s Design-Led Innovation Gap needs new strategies to make its namesake brand and the higher-end Banana Republic and Athleta brands relevant to millennial consumers, who increasingly favor them over its rivals. Unfortunately, however, its executive turnover, lack of product innovation, and overexpansion in malls and on main streets have made this task increasingly difficult for Gap. Dickson will bring Mattel's strategic playbook to apparel giant Hanes as CEO starting August 22. This approach has proven highly successful at revitalizing power brands within Mattel such as Barbie - which recently celebrated 50 years and saw a blockbuster movie featuring Hollywood A-listers Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling. Dickson discussed Barbie's reinvention in a Fast Company interview by following three principles. These included understanding consumers well enough that products and content that resonated with them could be created; design-led innovation (such as creating a new brand identity, designer collaborations and global events); cultural relevance - something Gap will need to do through its initiatives; and finally cultural relevancy (something the brand will have to tap into itself). Gap is hoping to enact the same strategy that propelled Barbie doll to global phenomenon status, and Dickson can provide invaluable assistance. Through a Barbie-inspired capsule collection or film project, they have an opportunity to leverage their legacy and reconnect with young consumers who have fallen away from the brand over time. Gap's hiring of Dickson as CEO sends a clear signal that it is serious about revitalizing its brands and drawing in younger customers. Dickson possesses both the experience and skills to accomplish this, having led transformational changes at Mattel before serving as president of Jones Apparel Group which owns brands like Nine West and Easy Spirit. Furthermore, his strategic playbook emphasizes better understanding the consumer while seeking innovative partnerships tailored specifically towards them to navigate future challenges successfully. 4. Dickson’s Cultural Relevance Dickson will assume his new post on August 1, bringing to an end Gap's one-year search for a leader since former CEO Sonia Syngal left and interim chief Bob Martin was replaced. Dickson's hiring also proved positive for their stock, which rose 7% on Wednesday following news of his hiring. Dickson's experience at Mattel is essential to his success at Gap, analysts agree. He is widely credited with revitalizing Barbie - currently experiencing a renewed surge in popularity as it introduces dolls with various skin tones and body types - while being adept at using social media to drive sales and brand recognition. Dickson will need to use his skills at Gap to revive its mall-brand stalwarts - Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athleta--which have fallen on hard times due to a slowdown in the economy, fast fashion retailers like Shein and the end of student loan forbearance. On top of these challenges, they have also suffered due to poor management and an isolated corporate culture leading to missteps such as their partnership with rapper-turned-mogul Ye. Gap needs a CEO who can lead it into the modern era of retailing, according to analysts. Dickson's track record at Mattel and belief in inclusivity make him an excellent candidate, say experts. Jefferies analyst Daniel Ives sees Dickson's appointment as a good sign. With "a strong track record in leading turnarounds and expanding profitable businesses", he writes that Dickson possesses "invaluable expertise" in areas including innovation strategy, design & development, brand marketing & franchise management. Additionally to Mattel, Dickson held positions at Bloomingdales and Jones Apparel Group (parent company of Nine West & Easy Spirit), Bloomingdales as well as GlamGirl cosmetics startup GlamGirl before taking the reigns himself and working hand in hand with their teams to transform them for new era he said in statement - Gap shares rose by 6.