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Target CEO steps down in aftermath of customer data breach

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
May 5, 2014
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The fallout from Target's massive customer data breach continues: following the departure of the retailer's chief information officer in March, CEO Gregg Steinhafel has stepped down. The executive feels he's "personally accountable" for the lax security that let the breach happen, and is bowing out after "extensive discussions" with the board of directors. He'll hang on as an advisor while Target looks for a replacement, and CFO John Mulligan will run the company in the interim.

In his resignation letter, Steinhafel says that it's the "right time" for him to leave. The store chain has passed "several key milestones" in bolstering security, he says, including a new CIO with expertise in protecting government data. However, the exit also comes several weeks after the firm recorded a 46 percent year-over-year drop in its holiday season profits. Target is under pressure to regain the confidence of both shareholders and shoppers, and a change in CEOs just might provide the reassurances needed to improve the company's bottom line.

[Image credit: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images]

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