People to Watch in 2016:
Brian Cornell

The August 17 edition of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® revealed the 10th Annual “Players,” 20 people to watch in housewares during the next 12 months.

Selected by HomeWorld Business editors, the Players represent a cross section of a diverse housewares business— from established to newly installed company leaders; from large to small operations, from big-box to specialty retailers; from trade show managers to celebrity endorsers.

The HomeWorld Players are in the spotlight not only for how they might impact their respective organizations in the coming months, but also for how they might impact the overall housewares business.

Player’s CredentialsBrian Cornell joined Target at a key time when the retailer encountered ill fortune with a major data breach and unsuccessful entry into the Canadian market. In 2014, Cornell took over the helm at Target after a stint at PepsiCo Americas Foods, where he supervised the company’s global food business. Before joining PepsiCo in 2012, Cornell served as president and CEO of the Wal-Mart Stores Sam’s Club division. 

What To WatchIt won’t be hard to evaluate just where Cornell is taking Target, since he has consistently communicated a clear vision for the company to stakeholders. To serve Target’s customer better, Cornell stated, it must pay special attention to, and make better operational investments, in what he has defined as the retailer’s signature categories: style, baby, kids and wellness. At the same time, the retailer intends to engage suppliers to ensure Target has trendy and unique products and to sharpen its marketing messages. 

To accomplish that, Cornell hasn’t been shy about initiating painful changes in the organization, laying off headquarters staff to tighten management and even setting the stage for the departure of Kathee Tesija, evp/chief merchandising and supply chain officer, who many credit with creating the retailer’s cheap chic image. 

Target has even initiated a process of spinning off its pharmacy business to CVS Health Corp., as Cornell sought to further focus on core operations. Ultimately, Cornell wants to develop a leaner, more customer focused retail operation, which will mean significant changes in stores, as the product mix changes to address his priorities.

Perspective: In the company’s first quarter conference call, Cornell stated, “We continue to rollout upgraded fixtures in apparel, beauty, baby and home while investing in wellness with programs like ‘Made to Matter.’ Our buying teams are focused on delivering enhanced newness, quality and value to our guests and we’re communicating this renewed focus in both traditional and digital channels.”

2016 HomeWorld Business Players (click on name for profile):