Target CEO Resigns in Wake of Data Breach

Target, the third-largest retail chain in the US and Canada, said that Gregg Steinhafel, its chairman, president and chief executive (CEO) has agreed to step down following the data breach late last year that compromised the credit and debit card information of millions of customers.

The group said that Steinhafel, who has been with Target for 35 years and was appointed CEO in 2008, agreed to step down with immediate effect. He also resigned from the board of directors.

Chief financial officer (CFO) John Mulligan has been appointed interim president and CEO. Roxanne Austin, a member of Target’s board, was named as interim non-executive chair of the board. Both will serve in those roles until permanent replacements are named. Steinhafel will serve in an advisory capacity during the transition. Jim Johnson remains lead independent director on the board.

Steinhafel’s departure comes two months after Target announced that chief information officer (CIO) Beth Jacob resigned and outlined a series of changes it was making to overhaul its security systems and its security department.

Last week, the company named Bob DeRodes, who has 40 years of experience in information technology, as its new CIO. Target said it is continuing its search for a chief information security officer and a chief compliance officer.

“The last several months have tested Target in unprecedented ways,” Steinhafel wrote in a letter to the board that was made available to the media. “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.”

The outgoing CEO had faced increasing pressure since the revelation on 19 December that a data breach compromised 40m credit and debit card accounts between 27 November and 15 December. The company subsequently admitted on 10 January that hackers also stole personal information – including names, phone numbers as well as email and mailing addresses – from as many as 70m customers.

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