Target fires head of Canadian operations

The management shuffle at Target (NYSE: TGT) continues as the retailer announced a number of changes Tuesday, including firing the president of the company's struggling Canadian operation.

Tony Fisher, president of Target Canada, is no longer with the company effective immediately. Mark Schindele, Target's SVP for merchandising operations, will replace him. Schindele has worked at Target for 15 years and helped launch a few of its recent new store formats, including PFresh, CityTarget and Target Express.

Fisher's departure comes in the wake of a disappointing expansion into Canada that resulted in total losses of roughly $1 billion for Target. The company has experienced a rocky expansion in Canada, where it opened 124 stores in a matter of months. The retailer finished its first year in Canada with a fourth-quarter operating loss of $329 million. The gross margin rate for Target Canada was only 4.4 percent in the fourth quarter as the company aggressively marked down inventory to clear out excess goods.

Target is also bringing in a new non-executive chairman in Canada to provide counsel and support to Target Canada's executives in an effort to ensure strategies and tactics align with the Canadian marketplace. The company hasn't named an individual to the position yet.

In the United States, Target also announced changes to senior merchandising roles. Trish Adams will become executive VP of apparel and home, Jose Barra has been promoted to executive VP of essentials and hardlines, and Keri Jones will be executive VP of merchandising planning and operations. Meanwhile, Target's executive VP of property development, John Griffith, plans to retire at the end of the month.

All these executive shake-ups follow the sudden departure of Target's CEO Gregg Steinhafel, who had been with the company for 35 years. Steinhafel was let go amid Target's disastrous data breach and poor performance for the quarter.

Target is in turnaround mode, changing management at the very top and trying to reassure shoppers that it's safe to trust the chain with their personal and credit card information. The board of directors is wasting no time trying to right this ship, before it steers too far off course.

For more:
-See this Target press release

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