Gap’s Pressler Receives Nod for ‘Buck Stops Here’ Award

Discussion
Aug 19, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson

In an era when retail executives find pretty much everything under and including the sun to blame for business being off, Gap Inc.’s president and chief executive officer Paul
Pressler is a rarity.

Yesterday, Mr. Pressler contradicted a Gap Inc. press release that cited macro-economic factors as a mitigating factor in slow sales at the company’s stores this summer. He told
analysts that blame for Gap Inc.’s performance fell squarely on him and the rest of the company for not performing.

“We are missing by comparison to the aggregate demand out there,” he said. “That’s something we need to address.”

According to a Dow Jones Newswires‘ reports, Mr. Pressler expressed optimism that a new line of women’s clothing that will be in stores for the winter holiday will help
boost sales. He described the new line as “fresh, casual, American style.”

Moderator’s Comment: What is your reaction to Paul Pressler’s statement about his company’s need to perform better rather than blame it on the weather,
economy, etc.? How do you think Gap Inc.’s employees will react to Mr. Pressler’s statement that the company is not getting the job done?

George Anderson – Moderator

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7 Comments on "Gap’s Pressler Receives Nod for ‘Buck Stops Here’ Award"


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Herb Sorensen
Guest
15 years 6 months ago

As Collins notes in Good to Great, leaders of great companies look in the mirror to see what is wrong, and out the window to see what is going well. If you don’t accept responsibility for what is going wrong, you have NO chance of changing it. As Jim Rohn says, “The sun rises, the sun sets. The sun rises, the sun sets. Tomorrow will be like that too. The only thing that can change is you!”

Tom Zatina
Guest
Tom Zatina
15 years 6 months ago

Very refreshing and shows great leadership. Love to see this continue over time.

Mark Lilien
Guest
15 years 6 months ago

Many people prefer working for leaders who tell the truth. When the leadership avoids the truth, they get baloney from the rest of the staff.

Even during the Great Depression, some retailers made money. People who use macro factors as excuses will have excuses, not profits. There’s always something to blame for failure. Penney’s and many other chains live in the same macro environment as The Gap, and their profits are up.

Jim Wisuri
Guest
Jim Wisuri
15 years 6 months ago

While his look-in-the-mirror approach earns points for candor, Mr. Pressler also needs to engage in some self-examination on why he would directly undercut a corporate press release.

Many stakeholders will ask: “Well, which is it?”

If the buck stops at his desk on one day, why wasn’t it also stopping there on the day that his top PR person obtained the approval on the release? What changed, and when did it change?

Employees will want to know. Investors will want to know. Suppliers will want to know. Etc.

George Whalin
Guest
George Whalin
15 years 6 months ago

Bravo for Mr. Pressler! It’s about time retail CEOs and senior management took responsibility for the results in their businesses. It would be nice if every retail executive would do the same, but I wouldn’t want to bet on that happening.

Warren Thayer
Guest
15 years 6 months ago

I hate to rain on this parade, but in reading through the news story, it struck me that he didn’t accept personal responsibility, but shared the blame with everybody. That’s 78% less “courageous” than coming out and saying it’s your fault, in my opinion. And there were no real specifics. Having said that, it’s certainly a step in the right direction, and it’s pretty rare for anybody to accept even shared blame in corporate America today.

Gordon Keil
Guest
Gordon Keil
15 years 6 months ago

I would prefer to simply know the truth. For example, if the price of gas has taken dollars out of the pockets of a retailer’s customers, then say that. If the CEO honestly believes that his management team is at fault, then say that and be specific. What did he and his team do wrong and what steps are they taking to adjust? It is so easy to simply say, “My fault, sorry.” That ends the conversation, but it is not very productive.

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