Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel is stepping down as chairman, president and CEO, effective immediately, Target's board announced May 5.
John Mulligan, Target's CFO, will be interim president and CEO; and Roxanne Austin, a current member of Target's board of directors, will be interim non-executive chair. Both will serve in these roles until permanent replacements are named. Steinhafel will also serve in an advisory capacity during the transition, Target said.
In a statement posted on Target's website, the retailer's board of directors noted Steinhafel's work in guiding Target through the most recent recession, the retailer's expansion and leading the company's response to its massive holiday-season data breach.
"Most recently, Gregg led the response to Targets 2013 data breach," the statement says. "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 data breach sent ripples through the retailer and payments industries, including a broad discussion of the effectiveness of EMV chip cards in preventing fraud. Steinhafel was once a skeptic of EMV, though in the wake of the breach he advocated for its adoption. Many payments and security experts have said EMV would not have prevented the Target data breach.
Target's board has retained the executive search firm Korn Ferry to advise on the CEO search.
Target has made other changes in the wake of the data breach, including naming Bob DeRodes CIO, replacing Beth Jacob, who resigned March 5. It also entered a deal with MasterCard to offer EMV chip and PIN versions of its REDcards.
Target did not immediately respond to a query.