Target Corp.’s chief merchandising executive, Kathee Tesija, is leaving the company after 29 years there, the company said Thursday. The company said it will look for her replacement from outside and within the company.
Tesija began her Target career as an entry-level analyst and worked her way up to essentially the number two spot there.
She will remain as an advisor and will be paid until the spring. Her severance package will depend on whether she agrees not to work for the competition.
Kathee Tesija has been instrumental in shaping Target as we know it. Although the retailer has faltered in recent years, its merchandising has long been one of its strengths. But CEO Brian Cornell has been reconfiguring Target’s leadership since his arrival early last year, and it’s no surprise that he wants to hand-pick his top merchandiser. It sounds like Cornell will continue the shift away from the Target's previous tendency of focusing hiring from inside the company, something that many have said led to an insular culture trapped by tradition.
“During Kathee’s nearly 30-year career at Target, she has earned a reputation as an outstanding merchant and business leader who has been instrumental in Target’s growth and our recent efforts to regain our momentum,” Cornell said in a statement. “Her leadership and countless contributions helped establish Target as one of America’s favorite retailers.”
It's likely that Target's hoping that Tesija leaves a bit of her magic behind.