Target CEO out after massive cyberattack; CFO to replace

UPDATED: The company's chief financial officer will now take the lead in the executive suite. In leaving the job, Gregg Steinhafel may receive as much as $9.26 million.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor
Image via CNET

Target's chief executive and chairman Gregg Steinhafel has stepped down, effective immediately, following an earlier devastating cyberattack that dinged profits and launched a congressional inquiry.

In a statement, Target's board of directors said: "Today we are announcing that, after extensive discussions, the board and Gregg Steinhafel have decided that now is the right time for new leadership at Target."

The board has named chief financial officer John Mulligan as interim chief executive and president. Roxanne Austin, a member of Target's board of directors, will serve as non-executive of the board.

It comes five months after the retail giant said it was the victim of a cyberattack that resulted in the theft of more than 40 million credit card details, and as much as 110 million bits of customer data in total.

In his resignation letter, Steinhafel said he was "proud" of the gains the company has made, but added that he was "tested... in unprecedented ways" following the breach.

A 14A filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on April 29, 2013 said Steinhafel will receive $9.26 million if he voluntarily terminates his contract with Target. It's unclear if that figure remains the same just over a year after the filing was submitted. An up-to-date 14A is expected in the coming days.

In a recent interview with ZDNet prior to the breaches, Jacob walked through Target's approach to mobile commerce, the in-store experience, and ironically how point-of-sale technology leaves an impression. Target's point-of-sale terminals were at the core of Target's data breach.

Profits suffered significantly drop in the first quarter of 2014 after the data breach. According to earlier reporting, the data breach was mostly covered by insurance. The costs for the fourth quarter were $61 million, but $44 million was covered by insurance. 

The successful hacking of its systems also led to members of the company's board and executive level to face questions in Congress.

The board's statement added: "He held himself personally accountable and pledged that Target would emerge a better company," the statement read. However, it wasn't enough to keep Target's chief information officer in his position.

Beth Jacobs, whose tenure as chief information officer spanned more than five years, resigned earlier this year following the scandal. Jacobs was replaced by Bob DeRodes as the head of its internal IT strategy at the end of April. 

Updated at 9:55 am ET: with executive compensation figures for 2013-2014.

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