Categories: SecurityWorkspace

Target CEO Leaves Following Epic Breach

US retailer Target has announced its CEO, chairman and president Gregg Steinhafel is leaving the company, just six months after the company suffered a serious data breach.

Yet the board, in making the announcement yesterday, thanked Steinhafel for his work on the response to the hack of Target, which led to the leakage of data of more than 40 million credit cards.

The company saw  its chief information officer, Beth Jacob, leave not long after the breach. A new CIO was hired in April.

Another Target exec leaves

“Gregg led the response to Target’s 2013 data breach. He held himself personally accountable and pledged that Target would emerge a better company. We are grateful to him for his tireless leadership and will always consider him a member of the Target family,” the company statement read.

“The board and Gregg Steinhafel have decided that now is the right time for new leadership at Target.

“The board is deeply grateful to Gregg for his significant contributions and outstanding service throughout his notable 35-year career with the company. We believe his passion for the team and relentless focus on the guest have established Target as a leader in the retail industry.”

John Mulligan, Target’s chief financial officer, has been made interim president and chief executive officer, while Roxanne Austin, a current member of Target’s board of directors, has been appointed interim non-executive chair.

Graham Cluley, independent security expert, said it appeared the company wanted to distance itself further from the Target of old, which was not using basic protections like chip and PIN systems for extra payments security.

“It seems Target’s board realised that a further clear and loud statement had to be made that the company had changed its ways – and Steinhafel’s position became more of an obstacle to changing the retailer’s troubled security image than an asset,” Cluley said in a blog post.

“Ironically, with all of the attention that Target has received since its disclosure last December, it probably now has more executives keeping at the front of their mind the critical issues of how to protect its customers’ data than many of its competitors.

“It’s just a shame that such a devastating breach had to happen for that shift in thinking to occur.”

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Thomas Brewster

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

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