For the first time ever, Target Corp. has gone outside its ranks to find a new CEO, announcing Thursday that it has named PepsiCo executive Brian Cornell.
Cornell has been CEO of PepsiCo Americas Foods division since March 2012 and was president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Sam’s Club before that.
Cornell, 55, begins work Aug. 12, and will also take a chairman position. He replaces Gregg Steinhafel, who was fired in May after lingering effects of a huge holiday-time data breach, stumbles in creating operations in Canada, and other efforts that were failing to bring Target back to its former vibrancy.
Brian Cornell’s appointment as Target chairman and CEO closes a chapter for the retailer, and, of course, begins a new one. The company has hardly twiddled its thumbs since CEO Gregg Steinhafel’s departure: It has named several high profile executives to boost tech and security efforts from outside the company, a move showing that it was indeed willing to bust through its putative insular culture.
Although Target was quite open about looking from the outside to fill the CEO job too, there was much speculation about who that would be. Now that that’s answered, the work can be begin. Target once enjoyed a sort of dual reputation: a downscale retailer with an upscale vibe. Let's see what Cornell has in store.