Will Chief Marketer Jeff Jones Be Target’s New CEO?


Here at PRNewser, we rarely post on anonymous tips–but this one is worth a quick story even though we’ve yet to confirm it and don’t expect to hear back from corporate anytime soon.

You may recall that current Target CMO Jeff Jones made headlines last week for using LinkedIn to publicize his response to an unflattering Gawker story based on the testimony of some very disgruntled employees.

The tip we received stated that Jones would soon be named as the company’s new CEO.


The more we thought about it, the more it made sense from a strategic perspective. Jones has been with the company for two years as EVP/CMO, but unlike departing chief Gregg Steinhafel, he can’t be definitively tied to the old guard. Not only is he a fresh face, he’s spent most of his career in an industry that specializes in changing brands: advertising.

Most importantly, the message he’s sending is that Target will completely redefine its own culture moving forward. Some key lines from the LinkedIn post:

“To say that the last five months at Target have been difficult is an extraordinary understatement…

The culture of Target is an enormous strength and might be our current Achilles heel…

We are searching for a new CEO…but in the meantime, we’re not standing still.”

We could very well be wrong, of course. But Target is looking to clean up its mess as thoroughly as possible; just a few hours ago, the company announced that Steinhafel would have to return more than $5M of his 2013 earnings because the total was simply too high (translation: it didn’t look so great).

Jones’ use of the “we are searching” terminology may also imply that he isn’t being considered for the role–but interim CEO John Mulligan could certainly do worse.

From a strategic perspective, the LinkedIn post would make for a great beginning to a chief executive’s rollout campaign, wouldn’t it?