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Target names new CEO after data hacking scandal

AFP

The Target logo is posted in front of a store on May 22, 2013 in Novato, CaliforniaThe Target logo is posted in front of a store on May 22, 2013 in Novato, California

The Target logo is posted in front of a store on May 22, 2013 in Novato, CaliforniaThe Target logo is posted in front of a store on May 22, 2013 in Novato, California

US and Canadian retail chain Target named former top Pepsi official Brian Cornell as its new chief executive, charged with cleaning up after a massive data theft scandal.

Cornell replaces Gregg Steinhafel, who stepped down as chief of the $73 billion company in May, five months after it was embarrassed by hackers' theft of data on as many as 100 million customers.

That theft came at the height of the holiday shopping season and hit the company's sales and profits.

Steinhafel was also blamed for poor results in the company's aggressive expansion into Canada, which sharply increased the number of stores to more than 1,900 and employees to 366,000.

Cornell, who Target called a "seasoned retail and consumer products veteran," will assume the positions of board chairman and chief executive on August 12.

At PepsiCo since 2012, he was chief executive of the Americas Foods unit, overseeing the company's four global foods businesses including Frito-Lay and Quaker Foods.

Before that he was chief executive of the Sam's Club unit of Walmart, Target's most powerful rival.

In December and January Target disclosed that hackers successfully infiltrated the company's information systems, obtaining credit card and personal data for what could top 100 million customers.

The data breach, one of the biggest in retail history, hit sales and spurred congressional hearings on the vulnerability of customer information in an era of increasingly sophisticated hacking efforts.

In the wake of the breach, Steinhafel quickly moved to shore up customer confidence, green-lighting plans to provide free credit monitoring and identity-theft insurance to shoppers.

But the data theft, combined with $211 million in losses on the poorly executed Canada expansion, ultimately led to Steinhafel's departure.

Target's board said it "is confident that Brian's diverse and broad experience in retail and consumer products as well as his passion for leading high performing teams will propel Target forward."

Date created : 2014-07-31