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Data Breaches Have Real Consequences as Target CEO Steps Down

May 6, 2014 // Rurik Bradbury

35 years of hard work, true commitment, and company loyalty came to an abrupt end yesterday when Target’s CEO, Gregg Stinhafel, stepped down from his post. His downfall came out of the of cyber blue when last December a bunch of hackers snapped up 40 million customers’ credit-card numbers in one of the largest data breaches in internet history.

The incident has been followed by at least 90 lawsuits (and $61 million through Feb. 1 to settle them). The company’s announcement read: “…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. The board will continue to be actively engaged with the leadership team to drive Target’s future success and will manage the transition…[including]…a comprehensive CEO search”.

Stinhafel’s robust career ended with a pink slip because he did not take data security seriously enough. This episode should serve as a warning for managers everywhere that your job could be on the line if you fail to ensure that your company is using best security practices. Nobody ever got fired for going the extra mile to ensure that their company’s information is stored safe and secure.