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Target CIO Resigns Following Security Breach

I was behind the curve on this one… I did not know Target CIO Beth M Jacob had resigned until I was contacted by a friend at Minneapolis St Paul Business Journal and a reporter from the Wall Street Journal.

This time I was of no help to them.

From the Target press release:

"While we are still in the process of an ongoing investigation, we recognize that the information-security environment is evolving rapidly," Steinhafel said. "To ensure that Target is well positioned following the data breach we suffered last year, we are undertaking an overhaul of our information-security and compliance structure and practices at Target."

I monitored articles most of the afternoon and there are two questions as best I can tell that are still hanging out there:

- Why did it take so long for the resignation?

- Who will replace her?

It looks like AP had the story first Target Tech Chief Resigns as Company Overhauls Security:

The departure, which was effective on Wednesday, comes as Target works to overhaul some of its divisions that handle security and technology following the massive data breach. Target said the resignation was Jacob's idea, but some analysts speculate that the executive has faced intense scrutiny as the company has tried to restore its reputation among investors and shoppers.

"People are questioning Target's security and she was the fall guy," said Walter Loeb, a New York-based independent retail consultant.

John Vomhoff Jr @MSPBJvomhof at the Minneapolis St Paul Business Journal has a couple of articles Target CIO resigns in wake of data breach and Where will Target find new CIO? Not at Target:

As Target Corp. looks to overhaul its information security and compliance operations with a team of new high-level executives, it's making one thing very clear — Target employees need not apply.

Following the resignation of Target Chief Information Officer Beth Jacob, Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel announced that the company will seek an interim CIO, someone to fill the newly elevated role of chief information security officer and a chief compliance officer. And he emphasized that all three of those positions will be filled from outside the company, using the word "external" or "externally" three times in the two-paragraph statement.

No doubt she is super talented and is well respected in operations and had success with getting Target into mobile and the tech lab in San Francisco up and running. But her non tech background in a CIO role had folks wondering and this quote from CIO 2012: Beth Jacob, Target Corp.

What’s a misconception people have about CIOs?

A lot of people think the most important skill set of a CIO is that of a techie. While you absolutely have to have highly skilled technology talent on your team, as CIO you’re in a role that demands great business breadth, because you’ve got to understand strategies from across the entire business and know how to act upon them.

My bet is the next Target CIO’s resume will look a little different.


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