Gregg Steinhafel’s Lasting Legacy

Gregg Steinhafel’s Lasting Legacy

Target India will not soon forget the Gregg Steinhafel era.

Target employees would likely prefer to forget the Gregg Steinhafel era—the CEO led the company’s disastrous Canadian expansion and presided over an era when the company lost its reputation for merchandising magic. Billions in losses, a leadership putsch and thousands of layoffs followed.

In corporate America, such eras rarely are commemorated for the ages, but at Target’s Bangalore business units, buildings still bear the names Gregg W. Steinhafel Center and Robert J. Ulrich Center. (Ulrich had a universally lauded run as CEO from 1994 to 2008.) Target initiated India operations in 2005 and named a center after Ulrich in 2006. Steinhafel was on-site in Bangalore in February 2010 when Target’s newest and largest corporate office in India was named after him.

The Steinhafel Center popped into the news in February when Target announced hundreds of planned job cuts in Minneapolis and India connected to the Canada shutdown. (About 3,000 people worked for Target in Bangalore as of press time.) Target India staff work in technology, marketing, human resources, finance, merchandising, supply chain, property development, analytics and reporting.

It struck insiders as inevitable that Target would rename the Steinhafel Center, given the denouement of the CEO’s tenure. So much for common wisdom. “We have not made any changes to the building names on our campus there,” says spokesperson Molly Snyder.