Target said today that, following “extensive discussions,” President and CEO Gregg Steinhafel is departing the Minneapolis-based retailer, effective immediately. Steinhafel also is no longer chairman of Target’s board of directors. The announcement follows a data breach late last year that compromised millions of customers’ personal information. Target says that “now is the right time for new leadership.”
John Mulligan, Target’s CFO, has been appointed as interim president and CEO. Roxanne S. Austin, a current member of Target’s board of directors, has been appointed as interim non-executive chair of the board. Both will serve in their roles until permanent replacements are named.
“We have asked Gregg Steinhafel to serve in an advisory capacity during this transition and he has graciously agreed,” Target’s board of directors says in a statement.
“The board is deeply grateful to Gregg for his significant contributions and outstanding service throughout his notable 35-year career with the company,” the statement continues. “We believe his passion for the team and relentless focus on the guest have established Target as a leader in the retail industry. Gregg has created a culture that fosters innovation and supports the development of new ideas. Under his leadership, the company has not only enhanced its ability to execute, but has broadened its strategic horizons. He also led the company through unprecedented challenges, navigating the financial recession, reacting to challenges with Target’s expansion into Canada and successfully defending the company through a high-profile proxy battle.
“Most recently, Gregg led the response to Target’s 2013 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 will continue to be actively engaged with the leadership team to drive Target’s future success and will manage the transition. In addition to the appointments of the exceptional leaders noted above, we have also retained Korn Ferry to advise the board on a comprehensive CEO search.
“The board is confident in the future of this company and views this transition as an opportunity to drive Target’s business forward and accelerate the company’s transformation efforts.”