Gap has recruited former Timberland retail director Michael Stanier as vice president and managing director of its UK retail and European franchise operations.
Stanier will head the business's 140-store UK arm and will report directly to Gap's European president Stephen Sunnucks.
He is likely to be lead a review of Gap's store portfolio - about 10 stores are already thought to have been put up for sale. He is also likely to lead a push into Turkey and Saudi Arabia, where Gap has signed a franchise deal and plans to open more than 100 stores.
Stanier replaces Barbara Cook, who was vice president and managing director of UK retail. Cook is now senior vice president for stores and operations for Gap North America.
Stanier was previously European retail director at Timberland. He has also worked at Marks & Spencer, where he was head of outlets and held various roles across its international division.
One industry source said: "The move to Gap is a big step but he has worked in international roles before. He has a strong background in retail operations, and he is sharp at negotiating deals and sites."