Brian Cornell has been trying to reinvigorate Target ever since he was tapped three years ago to be CEO. He was the first outsider hired for the top job in the company’s 115-year history.
First he had to rebuild trust in the aftermath of a serious credit card breach in 2013 that impacted personal information of more than 70 million Target customers. Now he’s trying to boost sluggish sales and increase traffic at the retailer’s stores. He’s been investing in new technology like artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics. He’s also committed $7 billion to refurbish Target’s 1,800 stores and revamp digital operations. He’s confident that over the next three years he will turn things around. But success, he says, will be less about the money or the new innovations. He’s counting on Target’s workforce of 323,000 people.
“One of the lessons I’ve learned over the years, it’s easy to design a strategy, but it all comes down to execution and outcomes”, says Cornell. “And ultimately the plans have to be owned by the team. It always comes down to people.”