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Target CEO steps down in security breach aftermath

A couple of shoppers leave a Target store on a rainy afternoon in Alhambra, California on December19, 2013, as the US retail giant said some 40 million customers may have had bank card data compromised by hackers who broke into its database as holiday shopping got underway.

Retail giant Target just announced that its CEO Gregg Steinhafel is stepping down after more than 30 years with the company, having served 6 of those years as CEO -- It has not been a smooth tenure. The company’s 4th  quarter profits fell by nearly half after hackers stole as many as 70 million credit and debit card numbers from the company’s database.

Two months after Target was hacked, Brian Krebs, who broke the story, logged onto the company’s website to see who had been put in charge of technology. To his surprise, there wasn’t anyone listed.

I think a lot of people were kind of surprised by that and were hoping for a little more fast action on the part of Target’s leadership,” says Krebs.

The massive security breach wasn’t the only strike against Target under Steinhafels’ leadership.

There are some operational issues, and from a financial point of view it’s had some real problems with its foray into Canada,” says Craig Johnson, president of the retail consulting firm Customer Growth Partners.

He says Target overpaid for many of its Canadian properties, and once they opened, the stores didn’t perform as well as expected. This along with rebuilding Target’s reputation with customers will be high among the list of priorities for interim CEO John Mulligan. Along with the shift of Mulligan to the interim position, Target announced last Tuesday that former Home Depot Chief Information Officer Bob DeRodes will be the next CIO. 

 

About the author

David Weinberg is a general assignment reporter at Marketplace.

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