Why It Took Target CEO 6 Months to Resign After Embarrassing Data Breach

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In addition to listing the company's accomplishments under his leadership, such as introducing fresh food to stores, Steinhafel, 59, wrote, "The last several months have tested Target in unprecedented ways."

"From the beginning, I have been committed to ensuring Target emerges from the data breach a better company, more focused than ever on delivering for our guests. We have already begun taking a number of steps to further enhance data security, putting the right people, processes and systems in place. With several key milestones behind us, now is the right time for new leadership at Target," Steinhafel wrote.

Target said it has asked Steinhafel to "serve in an advisory capacity during this transition and he has graciously agreed."

"The board is deeply grateful to Gregg for his significant contributions and outstanding service throughout his notable 35-year career with the company," the company said.

A spokesman for Target declined to comment.

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