After several months of damage control for a data breach that affected as many as 70 million shoppers, Target Board of Directors announced the resignation of the company’s Chairman, president and CEO — Gregg Steinhafel — effective immediately.
Target CFO John Mulligan has been appointed as interim president and CEO, while board member Roxanne S. Austin will take the role of as the temporary non-executive chair of the board. The company is currently looking for permanent replacements for the positions, and Steinhafel has agreed to act as an advisor for his successors during the transition.
“The last several months have tested Target in unprecedented ways,” said Steinhafel in his public letter of resignation. “From the beginning, I have been committed to ensuring Target emerges from the data breach a better company, more focused than ever on delivering for our guests. With several key milestones behind us, now is the right time for new leadership at Target.”
Steinhafel has had a long, 35-year career with Target. Although the security breach — which was made public this past December — has left a glaring mark on the company’s credibility, Steinhafel has led the company over several challenging hurdles. This includes:
- Leading the company through the financial recession beginning in the latter half of 2008;
- Aiding in a successful expansion into Canada; and
- Successfully winning a proxy fight with Pershing Square.
“Most recently, [Steinhafel] led the response to Target’s 2013 data breach,” said the Target Board of Directors in a statement. “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.”