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Gap says chief financial officer to leave

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Gap Inc's GPS.N chief financial officer Byron Pollitt, 56, has decided to leave the apparel company to become finance chief for Visa Inc, the companies said on Wednesday.

A model wears clothing from Banana Republic in this undated file photo. Gap Inc's <GPS.N> chief financial officer Byron Pollitt, 56, has decided to leave the apparel company to become finance chief for Visa Inc, the companies said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Gap/Handout

Pollitt’s last day at Gap will be September 14. He plans to join the world’s largest credit card network in mid-September.

Visa Inc. is planning to go public by early next year.

Gap also said that Sabrina Simmons, 44, its senior vice president of corporate finance, is being promoted to the newly created position of executive vice president of finance and will serve as acting CFO.

Gap spokeswoman Kris Marubio said there was “no formal search going on right now” for a permanent finance chief.

Simmons will report to Glenn Murphy, Gap’s newly appointed chairman and chief executive officer, and will oversee all business-related financial matters.

Gap, which also owns the Old Navy and Banana Republic chains, has seen flat or declining same-store sales in every month but three since June 2004.

The San Francisco-based company named Murphy as its leader last month. The former Canadian drug chain chief, who has no significant fashion industry experience, is trying to turn Gap around by laying off workers to cut costs, reducing inventory at stores and scaling back corporate office space.

Retail analyst Dana Telsey said this was a good opportunity for Pollitt, and that Simmons could continue to execute well during the retailer’s turnaround.

“Sabrina Simmons ... her tenure at Gap for six years certainly shows that she knows the financial aspects of the organization.”

Gap shares were down 0.9 percent at $18.50 in after-hours trade after closing up 3.3 percent at $18.67 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Reporting by Martinne Geller, additional reporting by Peter Henderson and Nichola Groom in Los Angeles and Mark McSherry in New York

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