Simmons, 44, had been serving as the retailer's acting CFO since last August, when Byron Pollitt departed to become financial chief of credit card giant Visa.
"As Sabrina has taken on more responsibility over the years, her deep knowledge of specialty retail, strong financial acumen and personal integrity have earned her the respect of those inside and outside the company," said Gap Chief Executive Glenn Murphy. "After working closely with Sabrina, it became clear that she has proven herself to be extremely capable and is the right person to partner with me and our business leaders to drive our financial priorities."
Simmons joined Gap nearly seven years ago as vice president and treasurer. She had also served as senior vice president of corporate finance. Before Gap, she was CFO of a British genetics company, and also worked at Levi Strauss, Hewlett Packard (HPQ) and KPMG.Simmons' appointment comes six months after Murphy took over as CEO. Both face the monumental task of turning the company around after three years of slumping sales. Gap's largest division, Old Navy, has yet to find its footing amid a sea of low-priced competitors, while the company's namesake brand is slowly starting to show some improvement. Gap's third brand, Banana Republic, remains the one relatively bright spot, but it also represents the smallest of the divisions. Shares of Gap were down 20 cents, or 1.2%, to $17.24 on Thursday.