- Target’s Chief Operating Officer John Mulligan plans to retire, the company said Tuesday. Mulligan will remain in his position until February, then transition to a strategic adviser role before officially retiring from the retailer in February 2025.
- Laysha Ward, Target’s chief external engagement officer, is also retiring. Ward will transition to a strategic adviser role through April.
- Target also announced two leadership appointments Tuesday. Matt Zabel is the new chief corporate affairs officer. Zabel will report to CEO Brian Cornell. Kiera Fernandez has been promoted to chief community impact and equity officer and will report to Zabel.
Mulligan and Ward will stay in their positions through the critical upcoming holiday season.
Mulligan formally notified Target of his intent to retire on Oct. 11, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Upon transitioning to a strategic adviser role, Mulligan will serve as a non-executive officer. The company said the terms of his strategic adviser role will be disclosed when they are finalized. Target also said it will disclose succession plans for the COO position before Mulligan’s departure.
“On behalf of the entire Target team, I want to thank John and Laysha for the tremendous impact they’ve had on our team and business during their impressive careers with the company,” Cornell said in an announcement. “I look forward to working closely with John until his retirement in 2025 and appreciate the important role he’ll play in setting his successor up for success, and I wish Laysha the very best as she prepares to embark on her next chapter.”
Mulligan joined Target in 1996 as a financial analyst and has served as COO since 2015. During his nearly 30 years with the company, he’s held several key leadership positions, including chief financial officer from 2012 through 2015 and interim president and CEO in 2014 before Cornell joined the company.
“As I prepare to retire next year, I want to start by saying thank you to the Target team, particularly our operations, store and supply chain team members,” Mulligan said. “I’m humbled by the opportunities I’ve had to help grow Target into a Fortune 50 company, fortified by a long-term, durable growth strategy.”
Ward began her career in 1991 as a frontline team member at Marshall Field’s in Chicago. Target owned that company for nearly 15 years. Ward went on to serve as president of community relations and the Target Foundation and chief corporate social responsibility officer, according to LinkedIn. She assumed her current position in 2017.
“It has been a great privilege to grow alongside the Target brand and team for 32 years, as we’ve expanded from $9 billion in annual revenue and fewer than 500 stores to more than $100 billion and nearly 2,000 stores,” Ward said.