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Unflattering Paul Pressler/Cynthia Harriss article in BusinessWeek

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  • Unflattering Paul Pressler/Cynthia Harriss article in BusinessWeek

    I got my copy of BusinessWeek in the mail yesterday, and it has a lengthy article about Paul Pressler and The Gap. This one is ugly folks.

    The article referenced a dozen Gap employees who basically trash Pressler's tenure at The Gap. Cynthia Harriss is also mentioned in unflattering terms as a controversial and poor choice to head the flagship Gap division, before she resigned suddenly 8 days after Pressler was asked to also step down.

    The similarities to the muck these two dragged Disneyland through during the 1996-2003 period are startling. Interestingly though, they both flamed out a lot faster at The Gap than they did at Disneyland.

    A few choice quotes...

    Pressler's problems involved more than just a few bad bets on colors and styles. According to 12 former employees interviewed by BusinessWeek, he also bungled some of the very things that were supposed to be his strengths, including cost-cutting campaigns, human resources initiatives, and supply chain streamlining efforts. One ex-employee characterizes Pressler's tenure as "total system failure."

    and in regards to Ms. Harriss....

    Arun Daniel, senior consumer analyst at ing Investment Management (ING ), which holds about 1.3 million Gap shares, considers the promotion of Harriss to be one of Pressler's critical mistakes. "He needed a strong No. 2 in merchandising," says Daniel. "Cynthia Harriss was an operations person."

    Under Harriss, the Pressler-style management of the brand continued through the rest of 2005 and beyond, say former employees. "She made no decisions," says one. "She defaulted to Paul, who made no decisions." (Harriss declined requests to comment.)

    The full BusinessWeek article can be read at the following link... http://www.businessweek.com/magazine...tm?chan=search

  • #2
    Re: Unflattering Paul Pressler/Cynthia Harriss article in BusinessWeek

    Flamed out with millions for failing!!!!
    "As usual he's taken over the coolest spot in the house"- Father re: Orville 1963

    [FONT=Arial Narrow]

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    • #3
      Re: Unflattering Paul Pressler/Cynthia Harriss article in BusinessWeek

      Very interesting reading - and it now tells me why I have purchased so little from the Gap in the past year or so - the styles have been quite bland - and it's because of Pressler/Harriss. After seeing what they did to Disneyland in the past - this answers all of my 'Gap' questions.

      Hope things are looking up for the Gap - as well as Tomorrowland.

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      • #4
        Re: Unflattering Paul Pressler/Cynthia Harriss article in BusinessWeek

        This passage is particularly telling, and we can only hope that Rasulo is reading:

        Despite Pressler's expertise and comfort with the operational side of the company, some of his initiatives in that area also backfired. In 2003, he kicked off a plan to remake the retailer's supply chain. One goal was to combine fabric purchases across all three of the company's brands, which had previously used separate suppliers. Pressler wanted to cut costs and speed the flow of merchandise from drawing board to store shelf.

        But the effort stumbled. Since all three brands sell jeans made of denim, in late 2003 they began purchasing it together. But the big buying deals yielded denim of a single quality, weave, and weight. That meant all three brands were limited to one kind of fabric even though, with their different audiences, they needed to be able to offer an array of jeans. And with all that denim ordered in advance, there was less incentive for designers to keep their eyes open so they could jump on the next great style. Jeans made with material from the pooled purchases ended up largely falling flat, and the joint purchasing effort was abandoned.



        Lesson learned: people go to different shops owned by the same company BECAUSE THEY'RE DIFFERENT!!

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        • #5
          Re: Unflattering Paul Pressler/Cynthia Harriss article in BusinessWeek

          They were just bad executives. Their tenure at Disney proved that. The theme parks fell apart and the revenue from did as well under the eyesite of Pressler and Harriss(Disneyland). Their fate was spelled out. Hey, Pressler even messed up the Disney Stores by over-expanding them and placing the reliance of revenue on animated movie merchandise. That backfired and led to today's "hip," Gap-style Disney Stores of today. Everything they touched pretty much turned to dust.

          Why is that when executives try to "streamline" operations, they end up hanging themselves (*cough*Rasulo*cough*)?
          Last edited by DisneyMickey; 03-01-2007, 06:52 PM.

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          • #6
            Re: Unflattering Paul Pressler/Cynthia Harriss article in BusinessWeek

            So does this mean Rasulo will realize that the homogenizing of Disneyland's stores made shopping at the park less fun?

            Although, to be fair, the stores have slowly been re-differentiating themselves in recent years, but not like they used to be.

            Unusually and exceedingly peculiar and altogether quite impossible to describe...


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            • #7
              Re: Unflattering Paul Pressler/Cynthia Harriss article in BusinessWeek

              Originally posted by DisneyMickey View Post
              Why is that when executives try to "streamline" operations, they end up hanging themselves (*cough*Rasulo*cough*)?
              Well he's not exactly swaying from the rafters.....yet
              "If we cut the budget are you going to be the one standing at the exit explaining to guests why the ride they just rode is a piece of crap?" - - John Lasseter

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              • #8
                Re: Unflattering Paul Pressler/Cynthia Harriss article in BusinessWeek

                I personally find the "Disney Parks" marketing campain confusing.

                "Come visit...er somewhere... we don't know where, but come anyway. Look here are people having a great time at Walt Disney World, no wait, they are Asian, so may be they are at Tokyo Disney, or may be Disneyland... we don't know!!!"

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                • #9
                  Re: Unflattering Paul Pressler/Cynthia Harriss article in BusinessWeek

                  The message boards and Al's articles coud have told them all of that about Paul and Cynthia's distrous reign at the Magic Kingdom before millions of dollars were wasted at Gap - - it was all here online, yet they were still described as "talent."

                  Corporatations need to research outside of their inner circles.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Unflattering Paul Pressler/Cynthia Harriss article in BusinessWeek

                    Originally posted by Disneyland Daddy View Post
                    Very interesting reading - and it now tells me why I have purchased so little from the Gap in the past year or so - the styles have been quite bland - and it's because of Pressler/Harriss. After seeing what they did to Disneyland in the past - this answers all of my 'Gap' questions.

                    Hope things are looking up for the Gap - as well as Tomorrowland.
                    I don't know about you, but they still have problems in that arena...

                    I mean, how many girls are going to go out and nab a "boyfriend pant" in San Francisco?
                    Check out my other blog:

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                    • #11
                      Re: Unflattering Paul Pressler/Cynthia Harriss article in BusinessWeek

                      Originally posted by cellarhound View Post
                      I don't know about you, but they still have problems in that arena...

                      I mean, how many girls are going to go out and nab a "boyfriend pant" in San Francisco?
                      Good question...

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