Why Target Changed Its Retirement Rules for CEO Brian Cornell

Target said on Wednesday that Brian Cornell has committed to remain as CEO and lead the company for “approximately three more years.”

With Cornell’s commitment, the Minneapolis-based big-box retailer said its board of directors eliminated its retirement policy, which was designed to “initiate a discussion regarding the possible retirement” of Cornell at the age of 65. (The executive is 64.)

In a statement on Wednesday, Monica Lozano, lead independent director of Target’s board of directors, said that it was “important” to the board to assure stakeholders of Cornell’s intention to remain in his position, noting the accomplishments he has had since taking the reins in 2014.

“We enthusiastically support his commitment and his continued leadership, especially considering his track record and the company’s strong financial performance during his tenure,” Lozano added. “The board is pleased that Brian has committed to continue leading Target’s strategy and driving its multi-year, long-range plan alongside his talented leadership team.”

Cornell added in a statement that being a Target team member has been “the high point” of his career and he is “energized” about leading the company in the years ahead.

“By taking care of our guests, our team, our communities and our shareholders, Target has added nearly $40 billion in annual revenue since I joined the company, and in many ways, we’re just getting started,” Cornell said. “Our success is fueled by the best team in retail, and I am confident our culture will continue to propel our company forward.”

Target also announced on Wednesday that Arthur Valdez, EVP and chief supply chain and logistics officer, will retire from the company. Gretchen McCarthy, SVP of global inventory management, will succeed Valdez and join Target’s leadership team.

McCarthy will report to John Mulligan, Target’s EVP and chief operating officer, effective immediately. Valdez and McCarthy have been partnering closely to ensure a smooth transition, and Valdez will continue working with the Target team in an advisory role through April 2023, the company added.

These announcements come just weeks after Target said it has reduced its “inventory exposure in discretionary categories” throughout Q2 by canceling more than $1.5 billion of orders in these categories and marking down products.

In June, Target outlined a plan to “right-size” inventory for the balance of the year by unloading excess stock in the supply chain. Target said it had seen an unexpected sales slowdown in categories such as home, electronics, sporting goods and apparel as consumers spent most actively across essential categories like food and beverage.

In the second quarter of 2022, Target reported adjusted earnings per share of 39 cents versus the 72 cents expected by analysts. This marked an 89.2% decrease from the same quarter last year. The company reported revenues of $26 billion, up 3.5% from the same quarter last year.

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