Head of Target Resigns Following Credit Card Breach

Gregg Steinhafel, a 35-year veteran of Target, has resigned as the company’s chairman, CEO, and president, in what many news accounts are calling fallout from the company’s massive data breach last year.

Target chief financial officer John Mulligan has been named interim president and CEO, while board member Roxanne S. Austin has been appointed interim non-executive chair of the board.   

Steinhafel will serve in an advisory capacity during the transition. 

The statement from the board of directors did not directly attribute his resignation to last year’s massive cyber attack, but noted that Steinhafel “held himself personally accountable [for it] and pledged that Target would emerge a better company.”

In his farewell letter, Steinhafel also mentioned the breach, saying, “We have already begun taking a number of steps to further enhance data security, putting the right people, processes, and systems in places. With several key milestones behind us, now is the right time for new leadership at Target.” 

The fallout from the data breach caused holiday sales to “soften meaningfully,” the company admitted in February. Some analysts say its overall costs could top $1 billion.

The credit card breach affected some 70 million customers, making it possibly the largest attack in U.S. retail history.

Steinhafel was named president of Target in 1999, after 20 years with the company. He became president and CEO in May 2008 and was appointed chairman in Jan. 2009.     

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