• Retail Dive

Target names new strategy and innovation chief

Dive Brief:
  • On Wednesday, Target announced that Minsok Pak will take up the role of executive vice president, chief strategy and innovation officer, effective Sept. 11, according to a company press release. Pak replaces Casey Carl, who held the office until April, and will report to CEO Brian Cornell.

  • Pak will be responsible for the retailer’s enterprise strategy, development and retail innovation with the goal of enhancing the guest experience and accelerating growth, the company said. He will also oversee business development, including mergers, acquisitions, partnerships and joint venture initiatives.

  • Pak has extensive experience from his two decades at McKinsey & Company, including as chief of its digital transformation group and as leader of the firm’s own internal digitization initiative. More recently, he was senior vice president of LEGO Retail at The LEGO Group, responsible for leading its branded retail channel, including more than 250 stores and e-commerce sites across 24 markets. Other positions include: executive vice president and chief strategy officer at LG Electronics and managing director at private equity firm Actium Corporation.

Dive Insight:

Outgoing strategy and innovation chief Casey Carl accomplished quite a lot in his two-and-a-half years at Target, lending the retailer an innovative mindset and an air of entrepreneurial spirit. He was a guiding force behind Target's LA25 "store of the future" program, along with its vertical farming initiative, the Target + Techstars accelerator program and other efforts. Pak seems to be a continuation of that innovative mindset.

In a question and answer on Target's blog, Pak stressed the importance of continued innovation in a retail landscape that he says "used to be about brick and mortar," but isn't any longer.

"With digitization, consumers have a lot more options and access. They have higher expectations when it comes to experiences, personalization and engagement," Pak said. "In order to succeed, retailers must fundamentally change their business models."

In his statement this week, Cornell also noted Pak's "deep business acumen and proven leadership capabilities," and said that Target needs to "purposefully" work to drive growth and innovation.

"Throughout his career, he has counseled numerous companies and led through significant times of change," Cornell said. "He brings strategic vision, an innovative spirit and an ability to address complex business challenges by capturing near-term opportunities and charting a course for the future.”

Pak will join the retailer at a time when Amazon is expanding its brick-and-mortar operations — most notably by taking over Whole Foods next week — and meanwhile Walmart is expanding its e-commerce operations through a series of acquisitions that expand its assortment and customer base. While Target has forged ties with several designers and digitally forward brands, it hasn't followed through on many mergers or acquisitions, although the company last week announced the purchase of same-day delivery startup Grand Junction.

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