Target names an outsider as new CEO

Target names former PepsiCo exec Brian Cornell as new CEO

Target Corp. has named a new chief executive and chairman to shepherd the retailer beyond a massive data-hacking incident that marred its last holiday season.

The nation's third largest retailer said Brian Cornell, who most recently served as an executive at PepsiCo, will come aboard Aug. 12. He will replace John Mulligan, who has been interim CEO since May.

Longtime CEO Gregg Steinhafel resigned in May after a stunning data breach in which hackers stole credit and debit card information from tens of millions of customers. Beth Jacob, the retailer's chief information officer, also stepped down. 

Cornell was most recently chief executive of PepsiCo Americas Foods and has also been CEO of discounter Sam's Club and Michaels Stores Inc.

The 55-year-old will step in as the Minneapolis company continues to struggle with fallout from the data breach while trying to appeal to shoppers who remain cautious about spending during the slow economic recovery.

Target reported a 34% decline in net income in its 2013 fiscal year, the first annual drop in profit in the past five years.

The company has been scrambling to tighten security over its vast amount of shopper data and assure customers that their personal information is safe. It has increased monitoring of accounts, implemented new safeguards at its point-of-sale systems and hired an IT expert to head up technology risk and information strategy.

Target said Cornell's mission would be to lead the retailer in combining its brick-and-mortar stores and its online and mobile components into an attractive shopping destination for customers.

"I will focus on our current business performance in both the U.S. and Canada and on how we accelerate our omnichannel transformation," he said.

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