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Gap Names Glenn Murphy as New Chief Executive

Gap, the world's largest apparel company, said it named drug store executive Glenn Murphy as its new chairman and chief executive, some six months after its prior head was ousted amid sliding sales at the once-iconic American casual clothing brand.

Murphy, 45, most recently served as chairman and CEO at Shoppers Drug Mart, the largest drugstore chain in Canada, according to a Gap statement. Earlier, Murphy held positions at Loblaw Companies, a retail and wholesale food company in Canada.

Gap shares rose 3.5 percent in extended trade to $17.50 after closing at $16.91 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Gap, operator of the Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic chains, has been searching since January for a new leader.

Former CEO Paul Pressler, the company's third chief executive, resigned in January after serving less than five years. Although critics praised Pressler's reduction of debt, better inventory control and technology improvements in operations, his failure to turn around a trend of declining sales at established stores since 2000 -- a key measure of financial performance for retailers -- ultimately cost him his job.

Nonexecutive Chairman Robert Fisher, 52, the son of company founder Donald Fisher, has served as interim CEO since Pressler's departure. While acknowledging that uninspired fashions have been the root of Gap's problems, he has cautioned that no quick fix is in sight and calls 2007 a "transitional year."

Since January, the company has shuttered its fledgling Forth & Towne chain for women over age 35, installed the head of Banana Republic as the new president of Gap North America, and brought in a new head of marketing at Old Navy.

Retail watchers considered the search for a new Gap leader a daunting task, given the dearth of candidates with experience managing such a large global retailer. The company, which operates over 3,000 stores around the world, has said it preferred someone with deep retailing and merchandising experience, preferably in apparel.

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