The massive data breach over the holiday season potentially affected up to 110 million customers, resulting in a slew of negative headlines about the company.
"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. Effective immediately, Gregg will step down from his positions as Chairman of the Target board of directors, president and CEO," the company said, in a statement released before market open.
Target's CFO John Mulligan has been appointed interim president and CEO. Board member Roxanne S. Austin has been appointed interim non-executive chair of the board. Target said that both executives will serve in the roles until permanent replacements are announced.
In its statement, Target praised Steinhafel's work navigating the financial recession, handling challenges during the company's expansion into Canada and his defense of the company in a proxy battle.
"Most recently, Gregg led the response to Target's 2013 data breach. He held himself personally accountable and pledged that Target would emerge a better company," the company said. "We are grateful to him for his tireless leadership and will always consider him a member of the Target family."
"The last several months have tested Target in unprecedented ways," wrote Steinhafel, in a letter to the company's board. "From the beginning I have been committed to ensuring Target emerges from the data breach a better company, more focused than ever on delivering for our guests. We have already begun taking a number of steps to further enhance data security, putting the right people, processes and systems in place. With several key milestones behind us, now is the right time for new leadership at Target."
Target shares, which have dipped 4.92% over the last six months, slipped 1% to $61.39 in pre-market trading.
>>Read More: Bad Press Aside, Target Has Upside Potential
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--Written by James Rogers in New York.
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