Business

Target Hires New CEO From PepsiCo As It Works To Recover From Biggest U.S. Retail Hack

Brian Cornell’s background is in stark contrast to his “homegrown” predecessor.

AP Photo/Steven Senne, File

Target hired a new chief executive officer from PepsiCo, three months after its former CEO resigned in the wake of the retailer’s massive data breach in December.

Brian Cornell, who will also be Target’s chairman, led PepsiCo’s Americas Foods division, the company’s biggest, since 2012, according to a statement today. Before that, he was the president and CEO of Sam’s Club — giving him relevant discount-store experience — and CEO of Michaels Stores.

Notably, Cornell arrives at Target from outside the company. Gregg Steinhafel, the former CEO for about six years, spent a total of 35 years at Target — and that might have been a problem.

Target’s chief marketing officer penned an unusually open letter on LinkedIn in May, acknowledging the company had “hit a rough patch” and that the five months following the data breach were difficult. He wrote in response to an anonymous employee rant posted to Gawker, in which the employee claimed the “homegrown” executives at Target had ” no concept of how to run a 21st century business.”

“Target HQ is in bad shape and in desperate need of help, direction and vision, starting from the top down,” the employee wrote on Gawker at the time.

“As we seek to aggressively move Target forward and establish the company as a top omnichannel retailer, we focused on identifying an extraordinary leader who could bring vision, focus and a wealth of experience to Target’s transformation,” Roxanne Austin, Target’s interim nonexecutive board chair, said in today’s statement.

Target is still working to recover from its data breach in mid-December, which has rocked both sales and profits.

Target’s new CEO, Brian Cornell:

Target / Via investors.target.com

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