Target CEO Brian Cornell Accepts Award for Gender Diversity

Randy Hofbauer
Digital and Technology Editor
Target CEO Brian Cornell Accepts Award for Gender Diversity
Brian Cornell receiving the William J. Grize Award from NEW at RILA's Retail CEO Forum

Target Corp. has been recognized for its commitment to gender equality in the workplace and women's leadership by the Network of Executive Women (NEW) women's leadership organization.

Receiving the William J. Grize Award Jan. 21 during the Retail Industry Leaders Association's Retail CEO Forum in Amelia Island, Fla., Target was noted for committing to gender equality from the c-suite down. In 2016, Target signed the White House Equal Pay Pledge, backing up that action with a comprehensive annual pay audit and leadership training designed to reduce bias in decision-making.

"Target's leadership team understands that creating a gender-diverse and inclusive workplace is a business imperative," said NEW President and CEO Sarah Alter, who presented the award to Target Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell. "Their efforts to level the playing field and realize the benefits of women's leadership have served as models for leaders in retail and beyond."

Added Alter: "But we know real change requires commitment and follow-through at every level. Target's gender diversity efforts are strong across functions, as women are represented, heard, recognized and developed as leaders at headquarters and in the field."

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Nearly half of Target's store managers are female, each overseeing up to 500 employees and responsible for maximizing profitability, guest experience and sales. Women make up 36 percent of Target's board and 45 percent of its executives.

The William J. Grize Award is named for the late president and CEO of Stop & Shop, an early champion of gender diversity. Since 2011, the award has honored industry leaders and companies who have demonstrated "an enduring commitment to the advancement of women and to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace."

Prior grocery executives and grocers to receive the award include Jeff Noddle, the retired CEO of Supervalu; Judy Spires, of Kings Super Markets; and Mike Duke, of Walmart Inc.

Target's commitment to diversity extends the retailer's belief that employees are the strongest area in which to make their investments. At Retail's Big Show, hosted by the National Retail Federation Jan. 12-15 at the Jacob K. Javits Center, in New York, Cornell noted that it's the people behind the brand who create the brand experience and serve as your brand ambassadors. Last year was Target's best year in more than a decade, and while store remodels, new brands, fresh technology and more all played a role, the biggest reason for this success was the retailer's $1 billion investment in its own associates.

Minneapolis-based Target Corp. operates 1,800 stores and its ecommerce site, The company is No. 13 on Progressive Grocer’s Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.

About the Author

Randy Hofbauer

Randy Hofbauer is the former digital and technology editor of Progressive Grocer. He has more than a decade of experience as a content strategist, researcher and marketer, almost all of it covering CPG retailing. His insights and work have been cited in a number of media outlets, including The New York Times, the Associated Press and the Chicago Tribune, and he was named a finalist in the Software & Information Industry Association's 2018 Emerging Leader Awards. Follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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