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Target appoints Brian Cornell as new CEO

Target hopes to get the company back on track with the appointment of former PepsiCo executive Brian Cornell

For the first time in the company’s history, Target Corporation has appointed an outsider as its CEO. Effective August 12, Brian Cornell , a former PepsiCo Inc. executive will try to turn around Target’s year of lost customer confidence and store traffic.

Cornell will attempt to pick up the pieces left by Gregg Steinhafel who was removed three months earlier. During the holiday season of 2013, a massive data breach caused the theft of over 40 million payment card numbers and 70 million other pieces of customer data. The event unsurprisingly had a chilling effect on business. Keeping customers away and increasing scrutiny on Target’s data security efforts. Despite recent efforts to improve sales by offering discounts, the Wall Street Journal reported the company forecasts that, “same-store sales will be flat to slightly up in the U.S. for the quarter that ends August 2.”

Cornell will also attempt to pick up Target’s failed expansion into Canada. Last year, Target opened over 120 stores and three distribution centers in Canada, which has already cost the company over $1.6 billion in damages.


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Target hopes to bring in new and creative flair that was lacking during Steinhafel’s six-year tenure. According to the Wall Street Journal, the former CEO focused on basic groceries rather than the hip housewares that were once central to Target’s appeal.

Cornell will lead the company in making crucial decisions in hopes to bring it back to health. Target is paying Cornell an annual base salary of $1.3 million and could be granted as much as $3.75 million with stock options. He has already met with John Mulligan, who served as interim CEO and will be returning to his former position as CFO, as well as other top executives.

After meeting with his new team Cornell expressed, “Target is full of talented individuals, and Target guests routinely share stories of their personal love of the brand. These are powerful assets.” He plans to relocate to Minneapolis on Thursday and meet with the company’s leadership team in person. 

Contributing Author

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Jessica Liu

Jessica Liu is a sophomore at Haverford College, where she is majoring in political science. At InsideCounsel, she reports on news for the Women, Influence,...

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