Target continues security overhaul, hires new chief technology officer

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Target has tapped longtime technology adviser Bob DeRodes as its new executive vice president and chief information officer, to "help guide the company's information technology transformation" in the wake of last year's massive data breach, the company announced Tuesday.

"I see this as a tremendous opportunity to join a wonderful team and the best brand in retail – one that took a tough hit last year but has shown that it is committed to making it right," DeRodes says on Target's A Bullseye Views blog. "The opportunity to work in information technology and security, something I’ve been doing for 40 years, and a field I genuinely love, makes this a great challenge."

DeRodes, the company says, will oversee the Target technology team and its operations, and develop a roadmap to improve data security now and in the long term.

He's a former senior information technology adviser for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Secretary of Defense and the U.S. Department of Justice; he also served similar positions with companies such as Home Depot, Delta Airlines and CitiBank.

“Establishing a clear path forward for Target following the data breach has been my top priority," says Gregg Steinhafel, Target chairman, president and CEO. "Bob’s history of leading transformational change positions him well to lead our continued breach responses and guide our long-term digital strategy.”

DeRodes is replacing Beth Jacob, who resigned in early March after more than five years holding the position. At the time of Jacob's resignation, the company also announced it was overhauling its security management oversight team in response to the data breach. A week later, it was reported Target detected malicious activity in connection with the data breach early on – yet chose not to take immediate action.

Information from 40 million credit and debit cards was stolen, along with the personal information of as many as 70 million customers – possibly affecting 110 million people in all.

In announcing the hiring of DeRodes, Target also provided an update on its changes to technology security. The company says it has implemented enhanced monitoring, additional point-of-sale systems security, additional reviews and limits to vendor access (the reported entry point for the data thieves last fall) and better customer account protection.

The company also says its $100 million plan to upgrade all REDcards with computer chip technology will be ready by early 2015.

The company says it's still searching for a new chief information security officer and a chief compliance officer.

"I think of the payment industry as an arms race, where retailers and banks have to stay out ahead of the bad guys," DeRodes tells A Bullseye View. "Clearly Target is investing in data security and information technology at unprecedented levels, which puts the company at the forefront of that race."

DeRodes will start May 5.

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