• United States
Contributing Writer

Gap gets e-commerce veteran

Apr 08, 20032 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Toby Lenk to oversee

The Gap has named a seasoned veteran of the e-commerce world to take over the reins of its multisite online operation.

Toby Lenk, best known as founder and CEO of the now-defunct eToys, replaces Michael Tucci as president of Gap Direct. Lenk will take charge of, and – all very popular retail sites.

In addition, Lenk will head up online distribution operations and the company’s customer call center which could mean tighter integration between online customer service and phone-based customer service.

Lenk, who also served as a vice president at The Walt Disney Company, is considered one of the pioneers of e-commerce. He started eToys back in 1997 and then sold it to in 2001. During that time, the company experienced great highs and some tremendous lows, culminating in its buyout and devastatingly public layoffs. also made news with its 1999 denial-of-service attacks. The company suffered the attack in the public eye and showed exactly how vulnerable Web sites are.

Lenk, for his part, made news as the sort of Don Quixote of the e-commerce world. His aim with was to unseat ToysRUs. However, no matter how large he pumped up the advertising budget, it just didn’t happen.

Since leaving eToys, Lenk has worked in the venture capital world. All of these experiences should help Lenk improve on Gap’s already impressive integration of bricks and mortar and Internet retail operations. It’ll be exciting to see what he does about tying the call center in more closely with the online stores.