Target announced the retirements of two tenured executives.
John Mulligan, executive vice president and chief operating officer, will retire and remain in his role until February 2024, at which time he will transition to a strategic advisor role with the company until February 2025.
Laysha Ward, executive vice president and chief external engagement officer, shared her plans to retire. She will transition to a strategic advisor role through April 2024.
“On behalf of the entire Target team, I want to thank John and Laysha for the tremendous impact they’ve had on our team and business during their impressive careers with the company,” said Brian Cornell, chair and CEO. “I look forward to working closely with John until his retirement in 2025 and appreciate the important role he’ll play in setting his successor up for success, and I wish Laysha the very best as she prepares to embark on her next chapter.”
Mulligan joined Target in 1996 as a financial analyst. During his tenure with the company, he has held a variety of leadership positions in finance, digital and human resources. This includes his time as Target’s chief financial officer from 2012 to 2015. Notably, Mulligan served as interim president and CEO of Target in 2014, prior to Cornell joining the company. Mulligan was promoted to his current role in 2015. As chief operating officer, he has played a critical role in the successful rollout of Target’s “stores as hubs” strategy and has been a driving force behind developing and evolving the organization’s fulfillment options, including Order Pickup, Drive Up and its same-day delivery services.
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“As I prepare to retire next year, I want to start by saying thank you to the Target team, particularly our operations, store and supply chain team members. I’m humbled by the opportunities I’ve had to help grow Target into a Fortune 50 company, fortified by a long-term, durable growth strategy,” said Mulligan. “By maintaining a relentless focus on our guests, we continue to show what it looks like to adapt to meet evolving needs and a constantly changing retail landscape, all while delivering a sense of joy that’s uniquely Target. And what’s even more rewarding is the confidence I have that the best is still to come for this incredible brand.”
Ward began her career in 1991 as a frontline team member at Marshall Field’s in Chicago, where she served as the store’s community captain and realized a career-long passion for the positive impact businesses and their employees can have on the communities around them. She spent more than two decades leading corporate responsibility and the Target Foundation. During that time, she helped pioneer Target’s partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the establishment of St. Jude Target House I and II, which provide free housing and support to families whose children are receiving in-patient cancer treatment, and led the organization’s bold $1 billion pledge to education. Ward has received numerous accolades over the course of her career, including the appointment in 2008 by President Bush to the board of directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service (now known as AmeriCorps), on which Ward served as the board chair under the Obama Administration.
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“First and foremost, I want to express my gratitude. It has been a great privilege to grow alongside the Target brand and team for 32 years, as we’ve expanded from $9 billion in annual revenue and fewer than 500 stores to more than $100 billion and nearly 2,000 stores,” Ward said. “This has been a shared journey of purpose, meaningful relationships and sustainable impact for our business and the community, filled with lessons I will carry with me in service to others.”
Target also announced that Matt Zabel has been named chief corporate affairs officer. Zabel will report to Cornell. Additionally, Kiera Fernandez has been promoted to executive vice president and chief community impact and equity officer. Fernandez will be a member of Target’s leadership team and report to Zabel. In her new role, she will assume external stakeholder engagement, and have oversight of the company’s diversity, equity and inclusion strategy and corporate philanthropy efforts.