Gap has named Scott Key as senior vice president and general manager of customer experience, as the retailer looks to connect more with its shoppers.

Key will oversee the newly combined online and marketing group.

The move comes as Art Peck is set to become CEO of Gap in February. He will succeed Glenn Murphy, who has been at the helm since 2007. Peck, a 10-year veteran at Gap, had been its digital leader overseeing new innovations that cater to mobile-savvy shoppers.

The Gap Inc. also announced Thursday that it is eliminating the post of creative director. Rebekka Bay, who had served in that role, will be departing the company, effective immediately.

"As we look to the future, now is the right time to make these changes and focus the brand on delivering casual, American style and building strong relationships with our customers around the world," Jeff Kirwan, Gap's global brand president, said in a statement.

Kirwan, who was head of Gap's China business, took on his new role in December.

After several years of losing its way, Gap started a turnaround in early 2012 by stepping up its marketing and offering trendier merchandise. But sales recently started to slow as hot trends like brightly colored jeans waned.

San Francisco-based Gap is also among the retailers dealing with the shift among consumers to online shopping. Gap and others are trying to mesh their online businesses with physical stores as shoppers' purchases are influenced by the Web and mobile devices.

Gap's stock rose 25 cents to $42.55 in afternoon trading.