Jason Goldberger, Target Corp.’s chief digital officer and president of Target.com, has left the company "effective immediately" after being the first to take on the newly created position in May, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Goldberger first joined Target in 2013 after previously working at Amazon, Hayneedle and Gilt Groupe. His duties will be taken up by Chief Information Officer Mike McNamara and Chief Marketing Officer Mike Triton, who arrived at Target as chief merchant from Nordstrom around the same time that Goldberger was promoted to his role. McNamara, named chief information and digital officer, will take over digital responsibilities while Triton handles pricing and promotions.
In a statement regarding Goldberger's departure, Target CEO Brian Cornell said "Taking this body of work in a new direction will help advance our efforts in these key areas during a pivotal time for Target. I have complete confidence that Mike and Mark's leadership will have an immediate and positive impact on the team and the business."
Goldberger's abrupt exit comes amid a major turnaround period for Target, and it doesn't look like he fits in with Cornell's vision for the retailer's future. But after only a few months at the digital helm, it's unclear exactly why Goldberger wasn't the right fit.
Tech is generally a forte at Target, and its Cartwheel mobile application, which recently expanded into a rewards program, is widely viewed as a success story. But the retailer's e-commerce sales have lagged after surging earlier in the year, falling from 30% to 16% in its latest quarter.
Cornell reportedly has been pushing for more pricing and promotions as well: Target's turnaround has been focused on making significant moves to recapture its “cheap chic” mantle, revamping the merchandising and presentation of its apparel and home goods, and it seems to be working: Apparel sales have spiked in those categories by 20% to 30%. But Q2 same-store sales also slipped 1.1%, marking Target’s first negative same-store sales measure since the first quarter of 2014.
“‘Expect more’ and ‘Pay less’ both have to work together,” CEO Brian Cornell told Fortune earlier this month. “We lost a bit of that balance and now we’ve got to get back.” Its recent slump, reported amid fairly upbeat reports from other retailers in the summer quarter, indicates that Target has faced a plateau in its turnaround.
Target earlier this month also said it’s taking major steps to upgrade its grocery aisles, including better training of dedicated grocery staff in stores, in order to ensure that food becomes another reason for its customers to shop there — although Cornell insists that doesn’t mean that the company aims to become a major grocer.
Goldberger is now the second senior executive to leave Target in recent weeks: Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Jones exited last month to become president of Uber. Losing Jones was seen as one of many setbacks for the retailer, and Cornell made the effort to thank him in a company press release. No similar release has yet been issued in response to Goldberger's exit.