Target Security Scandal Reaches the Top As CEO Steps Down


Over the weekend, Target finally realized that the only way to present a fresh face to the world after history’s biggest consumer security breach was to go all the way to the top: CEO Gregg Steinhafel officially stepped down this morning.

As the company’s board of directors put it in an official statement:

“…after extensive discussions, the board and…Gregg Steinhafel have decided that now is the right time for new leadership at Target.”

While the decision makes sense, it’s unfortunate to learn that a guy who spent nearly 30 years working his way up the ladder ultimately felt the need to fall on his own sword.

It wasn’t a particularly surprising move, though: VP/CIO Beth Jacob resigned in March, and last week’s hiring of her replacement–along with the announcement of a new, more secure system to process customers’ cards–hinted at a large-scale realignment.

The company’s CFO John Mulligan will be acting president during the Korn Ferry-aided search for Steinhafel’s replacement, with the departing CEO occupying a temporary advisory role.

You may recall that investors had other reasons to lose confidence in Steinhafel: for example, the company’s 2013 Canadian expansion has so far failed to take hold.

Yet, while this changing of the guard may instill greater confidence in Target’s ability to recover, the company will have to regain the trust of its customers to truly overcome this data-heavy stumble.

Only then can the healing begin.