The chief executive of US retail giant Target, Gregg Steinhafel, has stepped down from the company in the wake of a high-profile data breach that hit the company last year.
The data attack last year affected some 70 million customers, after hackers broke into Target's systems and stole customers' credit and debit card numbers, card expiration dates and debit card PINs. The data was later found being offered for sale by Eastern Europe hackers.
The board of the company said Steinhafel had handed in his notice voluntarily and thanked him for his service over the years, noting the work he had done during the data breach crisis.
“The board is deeply grateful to Gregg for his significant contributions and outstanding service throughout his notable 35-year career with the company,” it said.
“Most recently, Gregg led the response to Target’s 2013 data breach. He held himself personally accountable and pledged that Target would emerge a better company. We are grateful to him for his tireless leadership and will always consider him a member of the Target family.”
Despite the positive statement, the breach caused a lot of negative publicity for the firm and served to underline the cyber threats faced by major companies and the pressure that can fall on senior executives if a major security breach occurs on their watch.
Target chief information officer (CIO) Beth Jacob resigned from her role after the breach. Bob DeRodes was announced as her replacement last week. He has previously worked in key roles at US firms including CitiBank, First Data, Home Depot and Delta Air Lines.
Recent government data showed the average breach costs a company £1.15m per incident.
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