Retail News Breaks Archives
Target CEO resigns in wake of massive data breach
May 5th, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS – Target Corp. chairman, president and chief executive officer Gregg Steinhafel is leaving the retailer in the aftermath of the data breach late last year that took its toll on profits, rattled customer confidence and prompted congressional hearings.
“Today we are announcing that, after extensive discussions, the board and Gregg Steinhafel have decided that now is the right time for new leadership at Target,” the Target board said in a statement released Monday.
Chief financial officer John Mulligan was named interim president and CEO. Roxanne Austin, a current member of Target’s board of directors, was appointed interim nonexecutive chairman. Both will serve in their roles until permanent replacements are named, Target said, adding that Steinhafel has agreed to serve in an advisory capacity during the transition.
In December, Target unveiled it was the victim of a cyberattack that resulted in the theft of at least 40 million payment card numbers and 70 million other pieces of customer data. Earlier this year, in the retailer's fourth-quarter report, Steinhafel said "results softened meaningfully" after the company announced the data breach.
“It has been an honor and privilege to lead this great brand and work alongside what I believe is the best team in retail,” Steinhafel said in his resignation letter. “Over my nearly 35-year career at Target, we have earned the trust and loyalty of millions of guests by delivering a unique value-driven shopping experience.
“The last several months have tested Target in unprecedented ways; from the beginning, I have been committed to ensuring that Target emerges from the data breach a better company, more focused than ever on delivering for our guests.”
Steinhafel is the second high-level executive to leave Target as a result of the massive data breach.
In early March, Target announced that chief information officer Beth Jacob resigned from the company and that it had begun a search for a new CIO to lead the ongoing revamp of IT systems and network security. And then late last month, Target hired data security veteran Bob DeRodes as executive vice president and CIO, effective May 5. The retailer said that it's continuing to search for a chief information security officer and a chief compliance officer.
In its statement on Monday, the board noted that Steinhafel led the response to the data breach. "He held himself personally accountable and pledged that Target would emerge a better company. We are grateful to him for his tireless leadership and will always consider him a member of the Target family," the board said.
The company said it has retained Korn Ferry to advise the board on a comprehensive CEO search.