Target's CEO search proves difficult

Target (NYSE:TGT) may be having difficulties finding the right CEO to lead the company after its massive data breach, problems in Canada and checkout glitches earlier this week.

Target has been without a CEO since Gregg Steinhafel was fired in May, when John Mulligan, executive vice president and CFO, was named interim president and CEO. Mulligan quickly moved Target's entire leadership team to the 26th floor of its headquarters to become more efficient and reduce bureaucracy. He is likely at the top of the list to take over as CEO, as he takes to the road with executives to reassure Wall Street that the company is moving forward. 

However, Mulligan told analysts he doesn't want the job, according to Joseph Feldman, an analyst at Telsey Advisory Group.

Target is looking outside the company, reportedly speaking to traditional retail leaders such as Roger Farah, former vice chairman of Ralph Lauren; Ken Hicks, chairman, president and CEO of Foot Locker; Matt Rubel, a senior adviser at TPG Capital; Sharen Jester Turney, president and CEO of Victoria's Secret, and Sharon McCollam, CFO of Best Buy. 

Roxanne S. Austin, who was appointed interim non-executive chairman of the board at Target, has also been cited as a potential candidate. In May, she outlined the skills that a new CEO should have. "We want to aggressively move Target forward, and one of our three priorities is to transform our digital presence and become a leader in omnichannel retailing," said Austin, who was president of DirecTV and CFO of Hughes Electronics. "That is one of the major focuses as we look for a new CEO, along with great leadership and transformational capability."

Target's short list also is said to include Rosalind Brewer, president and CEO of Sam's Club; Glenn Murphy, chairman and CEO of Gap, Angela Ahrendts, senior VP of retail and online stores at Apple, and Mindy Grossman, CEO of HSN.

Complicating the search is the fact that Kohl's and JCPenney, both Target competitors, are also looking for successors to their current CEOs. "When you have less than 10 candidates, [seeing them is] a week's work," a retail expert told WWD.

For more:
-See this WWD article

Related stories:
Target glitch spurs fear of new data breach
Target apologizes to Canadian shoppers
Target shareholders re-elect board
Target hires first CISO
Target CEO shakes up executive committee

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