Target Corp. (NYSE:TGT) Chief Information Officer Beth Jacob resigned on Wednesday. As CIO, Jacob was the executive in charge of the retailer’s computer systems. Almost three months after Target’s high-profile security breach that resulted in the theft of about 40 million credit and debit card accounts, as well as 70 million other records with customer information, the company is now concentrating on overhauling its network security — without Jacob. According to the Wall Street Journal, Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel said the retailer is looking outside the company for a chief information officer to succeed Jacob and help steer the new effort.
Target is still navigating the turmoil that sprung from its data theft that took place over three of the most lucrative weeks in the holiday shopping season. The company alerted customers in mid-December that shoppers who visited Target stores from November 28 to December 15 were at risk for having their credit card data stolen, and the consequences of the attack ended up being even more severe than many anticipated. The initial figure of 40 million cards affected was only half the story. Seventy million other records with customer information were also compromised, and Target has yet to effectively revive its reputation and its customers’ trust.
That’s why one of its focuses in the upcoming months is overhauling its network security so that consumers feel comfortable shopping at Target again. According to the Wall Street Journal, in November and December, hackers were able to slip their software into the company’s computer systems by stealing the credentials of one of Target’s vendors. The software took to the company’s checkout stations and began amassing card data. Now, Target needs to ensure that its new security network doesn’t allow for such a breach.
Steinhafel has stayed mum about Jacob’s resignation, but he has maintained that Target will look outside the company for the executive’s replacement. ”We are undertaking an overhaul of our information security and compliance structure and practices at Target,” he said in a statement.
While Jacob was gearing up to step down from her post at Target, CFO John Mulligan headed to Washington to speak before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which grilled him over the logistics of the data breach: how it happened, whom it affected, and what preventative steps the company is taking. Mulligan was joined by executives from Neiman Marcus, a retailer that admitted to also suffering a security breach in December. Both companies offered official apologies to Congress for the damage their respective breaches caused.
Mulligan promised that Target is restructuring its network security. The Wall Street Journal reports that Target is now working with Promontory Financial Group to evaluate its technology, structure, and staffing, and the retailer is confident that its new security services will keep any similar disaster from occurring again in the future.