2 Top Target Chiefs Announce Retirement Plans

Target COO John Mulligan and Chief External Engagement Officer Laysha Ward have both announced plans to retire.

Two of Target’s top executives — COO John Mulligan and Chief External Engagement Officer Laysha Ward — have announced plans to retire. Mulligan will remain in his role until February 2024, at which time he will transition to a strategic advisor role until his official retirement in February 2025. Ward will transition to a strategic advisor role immediately through her retirement in April 2024. 

Mulligan’s replacement has not yet been named, but Target said it will share succession plans prior to his official retirement in February 2025. Ward’s retirement has prompted the promotion of Matt Zabel to Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, reporting directly to Target Chair and CEO Brian Cornell, as well as the promotion of Kiera Fernandez to EVP and Chief Community Impact and Equity Officer, reporting into Zabel.

Mulligan joined Target in 1996 as a financial analyst. During his 27-year tenure with the company, he has held a variety of leadership positions in finance, digital and human resources, including acting as CFO from 2012 to 2015. Mulligan also served as interim President and CEO of Target in 2014, prior to Cornell’s appointment. He was promoted to his current role of COO in 2015 where he has played a critical role in the successful rollout of Target’s “stores as hubs” strategy and has been a driving force behind developing and evolving the organization’s fulfillment options, including Order Pickup, Drive Up and same-day delivery services.

Ward began her career in 1991 as a frontline team member at a Chicago Marshall Field’s (which was purchased by what would become the Target Corporation in 1990) where she served as the store’s community captain and realized a career-long passion for the positive impact businesses and their employees can have on the communities around them. She spent more than two decades leading corporate responsibility and the Target Foundation, during which time she helped pioneer Target’s partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the establishment of the first two St. Jude Target Houses, as well as leading the organization’s $1 billion pledge to support education initiatives. Ward has received numerous accolades over the course of her career, including the appointment in 2008 by President Bush to the board of directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service (now known as AmeriCorps), on which Ward served as the Board Chair under the Obama Administration. 

“On behalf of the entire Target team, I want to thank John and Laysha for the tremendous impact they’ve had on our team and business during their impressive careers with the company,” said Cornell in a statement. “I look forward to working closely with John until his retirement in 2025 and appreciate the important role he’ll play in setting his successor up for success, and I wish Laysha the very best as she prepares to embark on her next chapter.”