Target interim CEO: Target 'cannot pause' during leadership transition


Target's interim CEO John Mulligan said he will be more than a caretaker as he takes over at the top of the Minnesota-based retail giant. Target's former chief financial officer said that employees, business analysts and Wall Street can expect decisiveness from him.

"As an interim CEO, I am not simply keeping the ship afloat," said Mulligan in an interview posted on Target's blog, A Bullseye View. "We need to accelerate our growth and that means we all have to move faster and empower the people around us to do the same." He promised Target shoppers, called guests in company parlance, "...a more flexible Target."

The Pioneer Press noted that Target has the reputation for having a methodical corporate culture marked by long deliberation. On his first day since being tapped to take over for CEO and President Gregg Steinhafel, who resigned Monday, Mulligan noted that retailing is changing fast, and Target needs to pock up the pace.

The 18 year Target veteran stressed the same theme in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, asking "How do we get more pilots and get more experimentation out into the store more quickly?"

Mulligan met with the company’s leadership team on Monday and had more meetings on Tuesday. he also told the Journal he didn't expect to be named the company's permanent CEO. He said that his top three priorities for his time in the corner office include delivering strong financial results in the U.S. and Canada, accelerating the company's push toward becoming a "truly omnichannel retailer," and ensuring the company's employees are "energized to serve our guests every day."

Meanwhile, the Star Tribune notes that analyst confidence in Target began slipping "long before the data breach and CEO Gregg Steinhafel's abrupt departure." The newspaper's analysis shows analyst support started to fade as far back as August, shortly after the stock hit an all-time high of $73.50 in July. Data from Bloomberg shows that just a third of the analysts who cover Target rate the stock a “buy.” That's the lowest percentage of buy support in the last five years.

Target shares fell another 3.7 percent Tuesday to $57.64, after dropping 3.5 percent Monday.

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