Target CEO Sacked

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Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) sacked Gregg Steinhafel, its CEO/president/chairman, and there should be little doubt about why. The massive data breach that hit the company just before the holiday season last year was a case study in how to screw things up from start to finish. Just getting rid of the CIO was not enough.

Here is an excerpt from the announcement:

Today we are announcing that, after extensive discussions, the board and Gregg Steinhafel have decided that now is the right time for new leadership at Target. Effective immediately, Gregg will step down from his positions as Chairman of the Target board of directors, president and CEO. John Mulligan, Target’s chief financial officer, has been appointed as interim president and chief executive officer. Roxanne S. Austin, a current member of Target’s board of directors, has been appointed as interim non-executive chair of the board. Both will serve in their roles until permanent replacements are named. We have asked Gregg Steinhafel to serve in an advisory capacity during this transition and he has graciously agreed.

The board is deeply grateful to Gregg for his significant contributions and outstanding service throughout his notable 35-year career with the company. We believe his passion for the team and relentless focus on the guest have established Target as a leader in the retail industry. Gregg has created a culture that fosters innovation and supports the development of new ideas. Under his leadership, the company has not only enhanced its ability to execute, but has broadened its strategic horizons. He also led the company through unprecedented challenges, navigating the financial recession, reacting to challenges with Target’s expansion into Canada, and successfully defending the company through a high-profile proxy battle.

Most recently, Gregg led the response to Targe’’s 2013 data breach. 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.

Target has started a search for its new chief executive.

Shares were down 1.7% in premarket trading Monday, at $60.95 in a 52-week range of $54.66 to $73.50.

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