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Target shareholders re-elect entire board at annual meeting

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All 10 members of Target's board of directors were re-elected at the company's annual shareholders meeting Wednesday, the Associated Press reports.

The directors were retained despite the recommendation of a proxy advisory firm to unseat a majority of them in light of last year's data breach.

Institutional Shareholder Services maintained the seven board members who served on Target's audit and corporate responsibility committees should not be retained because they failed to recognize potential threats to the security of customer data.

40 million Target shoppers had their credit and debit card numbers stolen by hackers in a security breach that could cost the retailer $1 billion once dozens of lawsuits are settled.

MPR News says the board members who survived Wednesday's vote at the annual meeting insisted they took extensive protective measures before and after the breach.

Target did not immediately release the vote totals. MPR says support from fewer than 90 percent of shareholders is typically seen as a sign of investor discontent.

Bloomberg says Target's interim chairwoman, Roxanne Austin, told shareholders 2013 was a year that clearly tested the company's resilience.

In addition to the data breach, the Minneapolis-based retailer has absorbed losses at its newly opened Canadian stores and sales in the U.S. have been sluggish.

The company is also searching for a new CEO after Gregg Steinhafel was pushed out last month. Chief Financial Officer John Mulligan is currently filling in as CEO.

The Star Tribune says Austin told investors at Wednesday's meeting in Dallas the board has confidence in Mulligan and the management team. The newspaper says she touted changes made since last fall's breach, including the hiring of a new chief information officer and a move to put computer chips in all Target-issued credit cards.

Demonstrators used the occasion of the annual meeting to push Target to ban guns in all of its stores. That issue picked up steam this month after a gun rights group publicized photos of members carrying rifles through the aisles of a Target store in Texas.

The Star Tribune says more than a dozen women with the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America protested outside the meeting in Dallas. WCCO says there were protests at stores around the country, including the one at Target's headquarters in downtown Minneapolis.


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