Following the massive data breach that saw as many as 70 million Target customers’ personal information stolen, along with 40 million credit and debit cards, the company’s board has announced this morning that Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel would be stepping down from his positions as CEO and president, as well as Chairman of the board of directors. In the interim, John Mulligan, Target’s CFO, will serve as interim CEO until a replacement is found.
According to a statement provided by the board, Gregg “held himself personally accountable [for the data breach] and pledged that Target would emerge a better company.”
The attack was an embarrassing blight on Target’s reputation, coming shortly after the busy holiday shopping season, where it affected a record number of customers. The breach cost the company $61 million in related expenses, Target said during its most recent earnings.
The company has since taken a number of steps to secure their credit card processing and data security, including a recent announcement to switch its Target branded debit and credit cards to the more secure “chip-and-pin” cards, which are the standard in Europe and only now beginning to roll out here in the U.S. That made it the first major retailer in the country to adopt the technology, and could encourage other competitors to move up their adoption timelines, too, ahead of the Oct. 2015 deadline.
Steinhafel had been with the company for 35 years.