May 15, 2014

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Target CEO Out After Major Security Breach

Fallout from 2013’s massive security breach at retail giant Target continued last week as Chairman and CEO Gregg Steinhafel resigned effective immediately.

Steinhafel, 59, who had been with the company for 35 years, rose through the ranks to become CEO in 2008 and Chairman in 2009. “He was the public face of the breach. The company struggled to recover from it,” said Cynthia Larose, chair of the privacy and security practice at the law firm Mintz Levin. Steinhafel is the first boss of a major corporation to lose his job over such a high-profile information security breach.

A staggering 110 million Target customers had their personal information exposed by the hack. Target’s reputation has taken a beating since the December 2013 attack. The company spent $61 million in the aftermath of the customer data breach and struggled to hold onto customers while overall sales plummeted.

“Now is the right time for new leadership at Target,” Steinhafel wrote in a letter to the board, saying the company is taking steps to recover from the problem.

After news of Steinhafel’s departure the company’s stock fell more than 3%, or $2.14 a share, to close at $59.87. Chief Financial Officer John Mulligan was named interim president and CEO while Target searches for a new leader.

I addressed the significance of the breach in my April post about why we need smarter credit cards as I am concerned about the safety of our customers wherever they shop –either online or in stores. Steinhafel had announced in February of 2014 that Target would be moving away from magnetic strip technology credit and debit cards to chip-enabled debit cards, which are encrypted and therefore safer. While this is a great first step in helping Target customers recover their confidence in the brand, it will probably be a while before the safer, chip-enabled smartcards become the standard for American consumers.

To stay safe and make sure you are protected against identity theft, why not sign up today for IdentityForce’s UltraSecure+Credit? It continuously monitors your credit and personal information, comes with $1 million of identity theft insurance, and offers complete recovery services.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Mike Mozart.

Melanie Medina

Sr. Director of Digital Marketing at IdentityForce
Melanie is a native of Bolivia who has lived in Boston for over 10 years. She likes to make time to travel, jog, read, and play backgammon. Fueled by copious amounts of coffee, Melanie stays on top of her to-do list while also keeping abreast of identity theft issues. Serious data breaches are happening all the time in the U.S. and Melanie loves being part of a solution that brings peace of mind to families across the country.

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