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Brian Cornell named chairman and CEO at Target


Retail and consumer products veteran Brian Cornell was named chairman and CEO at Target to fill two of the three roles previously held by the company’s former top executive Gregg Steinhafel.

Cornell will assume his new responsibilities at Target on August 12 after most recently serving as CEO of PepsiCo Americas Foods for two years. He brings a well-rounded background in retail and CPG to Target. Prior to PepsiCo, Cornell served as president and CEO of Walmart’s Sam’s Club division for roughly three years. He came to Sam’s Club after serving as CEO of Michaels Stores and also held the role of chief marketing officer at Safeway. Earlier in his career, Cornell held general management positions at PepsiCo, including president of Tropicana, president of PepsiCo beverages for Europe and Africa, and president of PepsiCo North America Foodservice.

In a brief statement announcing his appointment, Target said Cornell’s top priorities would be to accelerate the company’s performance and advance its omnichannel evolution.

“As we seek to aggressively move Target forward and establish the company as a top omnichannel retailer, we focused on identifying an extraordinary leader who could bring vision, focus and a wealth of experience to Target’s transformation,” said Roxanne S. Austin, the interim non-executive chair of the Target board who led the search for Steinhafel’s replacement. Steinhafel, who also held the title of president, stepped down in early May and his responsibilities were filled on an interim basis by CFO John Mulligan.

“The board is confident that Brian’s diverse and broad experience in retail and consumer products as well as his passion for leading high performing teams will propel Target forward.”

Cornell said he was honored and humbled to join Target as the first CEO hired from outside the company.

“I am committed to empowering this talented team to realize its full potential, lead change and strengthen the love guests have for this brand,” Cornell said. “As we create the Target of tomorrow, I will focus on our current business performance in both the U.S. and Canada and on how we accelerate our omnichannel transformation.”

In exchange for his services, Cornell will receive a lucrative compensation package that includes an annual salary of $1.3 million, a 2014 pro-rated cash incentive equal to 150% of his base sales and stock-based awards with a potential payout of $3.75 million. In addition, in 2015 Cornell will received stock-based awards with a potential value of $9 million. Target is also on the hook to compensate Cornell for incentive awards and grants he forfeits by leaving PepsiCo. Target said it would provide Cornell with a make-whole equity grant and a make-whole pro-rata annual bonus valued at more than $19 million, minus whatever portion of that amount Cornell is able to retain from his former employer. Target said it was unable to determine that amount at the time details of his compensation were disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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