Target chooses ex-PepsiCo executive as next CEO

This undated image provided by Target Corp. shows This undated image provided by Target Corp. shows newly named CEO Brian Cornell. Photo Credit: AP

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Target Corp. hired Brian Cornell as chief executive, choosing the former head of PepsiCo Americas Foods to take the job after Gregg Steinhafel was ousted after a hacker attack and a botched expansion in Canada.

Cornell, who left PepsiCo Inc. effective Wednesday, will take the reins at the U.S. retailer, Target spokeswoman Dustee Jenkins said Thursday.

The 55-year-old will step into the role at the Minneapolis-based company vacated after Steinhafel left the U.S. retailer in May. PepsiCo said Thursday that Cornell notified the beverage maker of his intention to quit on July 27. The Wall Street Journal reported the change earlier Thursday.

Even before the data breach, which exposed the personal information of millions of customers, Target had lost its way by becoming too cautious and bureaucratic, interim CEO John Mulligan said in an interview that month.

Target shares have slipped 3 percent this year, compared to a 0.8 percent drop in Sears Holdings Corp., which owns Kmart, and a 6.6 percent improvement in the S&P 500 benchmark.

Cornell took over as chief executive of PepsiCo Americas Foods in March 2012, running the company’s largest division with $25 billion in revenue from selling brands including Frito-Lay and Quaker, according to PepsiCo.’s website. He previously worked as the president of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Sam’s Club discount warehouse chain.

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Steinhafel, who was Target’s CEO for about six years, held himself personally responsible for the security attack.

About 40 million credit- and debit-card numbers, along with 70 million addresses, phone numbers and other pieces of information, were captured by the malware attack on the company’s 1,797-store network during last year’s holiday shopping season.

Recovery efforts generated $26 million in expenses during the first quarter, with $8 million of those costs getting covered by insurance. Standard & Poor’s cut Target’s debt rating in March, citing the data breach and losses at the Canadian unit.

Since Mulligan took over as interim CEO at Target, he hired a top data-security executive and moved the company’s entire leadership team to the 26th floor of its headquarters in Minneapolis, allowing for faster decisions and more clarity, he said in a memo to employees.

Target also is scaling back on its four governance meetings, which have focused on the supply chain, marketing, design and capital expenditures.

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