MINNEAPOLIS — The board of directors of Target Corp. has hired Brian Cornell as the company’s next chairman and chief executive officer, effective Aug. 12. Mr. Cornell joins Target with more than 30 years of experience at some of the nation’s leading retail and consumer product companies, including the past two years as c.e.o. of PepsiCo Americas Foods.
As c.e.o. of PepsiCo Americas Foods, Mr. Cornell oversaw the company’s global food business, the largest of PepsiCo’s four divisions. He was responsible for a portfolio that included Frito-Lay North America, Quaker Foods and all of PepsiCo’s Latin America food and snack businesses. Before joining PepsiCo in 2012, Mr. Cornell was president and c.e.o. of Sam’s Club, a division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. He also held the position of c.e.o. at Michaels Stores, Inc., and prior to that, he was executive vice-president and chief marketing officer for Safeway.
“As we seek to aggressively move Target forward and establish the company as a top omnichannel retailer. We focused on identifying an extraordinary leader who could bring vision, focus and a wealth of experience to Target’s transformation,” said Roxanne S. Austin, interim non-executive chair of the board. “The board 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.”
Mr. Cornell said he was “honored and humbled” to become the first c.e.o. hired from outside the company.
“I am committed to empowering this talented team to realize its full potential, lead change and strengthen the love guests have for this brand,” Mr. Cornell said. “As we create the Target of tomorrow, I will focus on our current business performance in both the U.S. and Canada and on how we accelerate our omnichannel transformation.”
Mr. Cornell received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and attended the Anderson Graduate School of Management. He is on the board of visitors at the Anderson Graduate School of Management, as well as the board of directors at Polaris Industries.Mr. Cornell succeeds Gregg Steinhafel, who was c.e.o. from May 1, 2008, to May 5, 2014. Mr. Steinhafel came under fire after Target’s 2013 data breach. Target said at the time of Mr. Steinhafel’s resignation that he held himself personally accountable and pledged that Target would emerge a better company. John Mulligan, Target’s executive vice-president and chief financial officer, has been serving as interim c.e.o. since May.