By Dow Jones Business News,
May 05, 2014, 08:33:00 AM EDT
By Paul Ziobro
Target Corp. replaced Chief Executive Gregg Steinhafel on Monday, removing a 35-year "lifer" who won plaudits for
his merchandising ability but whose tenure was marred by a massive data breach over the holidays.
The embarrassing computer attack and weak sales at a critical time shined a harsher light on other stumbles under
Mr. Steinhafel's six years as CEO, including a money losing expansion into Canada and a persistent weakness in traffic
as shoppers moved online.
Mr. Steinhafel's resignation leaves a void at the top of one of the largest U.S. retailers at a time of deep change
in shopping habits, a weak economic recovery, especially among low-income shoppers, and questions over whether internal
failures at Target made it an easy target for the data thieves.
Mr. Steinhafel, 59 years old, will step down immediately and be replaced on an interim basis by Chief Financial
Officer John Mulligan while Target seeks a new chief, the company said. Roxanne Austin, a current board member, will
take over Mr. Steinhafel's chairman role, also on an interim basis.
Target spokeswoman Dustee Jenkins said Mr. Steinhafel's decision to step down was just made recently after
Target's board has been meeting monthly since the data breach, where 40 million credit and debit cards and personal
information of 70 million people was stolen, was disclosed in mid-December. The last meeting was two weeks ago, Ms.
"The last several months have Tested Target in unprecedented ways," Mr. Steinhafel said in a letter to Target's
board Monday, adding that the company has already taken steps to improve its data security.
Write to Paul Ziobro at Paul.Ziobro@wsj.com
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