Days before the news broke that Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel was leaving the company, a select group of his executive team met to craft a simple but ultimately devastating message about the already wounded chief executive—that it was him or them.
According to reporting by The Wall Street Journal, Steinhafel was already at the end of a long struggle with his internal management team before the company was breached to the tune of tens of millions of users who saw their private information stolen and in some cases sold on the open marker.
The CEO moved Target away from its founding concept—cheap chic—to more common place, “Walmart-like” offerings, which in turn was reported to have left some higher level employees feeling as though their creative impulses were being stifled in favor of metric-based bureaucracy managed performance.
Steinhafel was the handpicked successor to much beloved former CEO Robert Ulrich, who led the firm for two decades until retiring in 2008.
In a release statement Ulrich noted that he and Target’s board believed Stenhafel was the best candidate for the job at the time.
Moving forward, Target has removed many layers of management, in an attempt to free up creative directors to re-orient the stores, and hopefully snap the retailer out of its recent cold streak, with customer traffic falling in six straight quarters.
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