Target taps Michael Fiddelke as CFO, as its chief merchant heads to Bed Bath & Beyond

Key Points
  • Target said CFO Cathy Smith will be replaced by Michael Fiddelke.
  • CMO Mark Tritton is also leaving Target, to lead Bed Bath & Beyond.
  • Target shares dipped less than 1% following the news, having hit an all-time high earlier in the day.
Bed Bath & Beyond shares pop after company names Target's Tritton CEO
Bed Bath & Beyond shares pop after company names Target's Tritton CEO

Target announced Wednesday it's named Michael Fiddelke as its next executive vice president and chief financial officer.

It also said Chief Merchandising Officer Mark Tritton will resign — to take the CEO post at the embattled Bed Bath & Beyond. He will start his new role on Nov. 4, according to a separate press release by Bed Bath & Beyond. The home goods retailer, in the middle of a sales slump, had been looking for a new CEO since earlier this year.

Fiddelke replaces Cathy Smith, who had already announced her intention to step down earlier this year. He moves into this role at a crucial time for Target, ahead of the upcoming holiday season. He has been at Target for more than 15 years, and most recently held the role of senior vice president of operations, the company said.

"After concluding an extensive global search, it's clear that Michael is the right leader for this role," said CEO Brian Cornell. "With his engineering training and his deep financial experience, Michael is extremely talented at diagnosing and solving complex organizational challenges and driving business results."

Fiddelke's roles at Target have spanned across finance, merchandising, human resources and operations. In his SVP role, he led initiatives involving merchandising, supply chain, stores and guest experience. Before joining Target, he worked at Deloitte Consulting.

Following Tritton's departure, in the interim, Tritton's duties will be assumed by general merchandising managers Christina Hennington and Jill Sando, Target said.

Hennington has been at Target since 2003, and had been in charge of essentials, beauty, hardlines and services in a general merchandising role. In her interim position, she will be responsible for merchandising planning and capabilities teams.

Sando joined in 1997, managing apparel, accessories and home in her previous role. She will assume Tritton's responsibilities for owned brand sourcing, design and brand management, the company explained.

Tritton has been a key name behind Target's successful turnaround. He notably has been helping lead store remodels and with Target's introduction of new private labels, in apparel and home. He's also helped Target secure collaborations with big-name brands such as Vineyard Vines and Hunter Boots, which have proven to be a traffic driver for stores and online.

While his departure came as a surprise, and with the timing not being ideal right ahead of the holidays, at least one analyst expects all will work out.

"We believe his replacements bring considerable [merchandising] experience that should help facilitate a seamless transition," said Jefferies analyst Christopher Mandeville.

Target CEO Cornell added: "Mark brought a tremendous amount of energy to his role as our chief merchant. ... His focus on developing the next generation of leadership, establishing a comprehensive merchandising strategy and re-energizing our owned brand portfolio are among his most meaningful contributions."

Shares of Target fell less than 1% in extended trading Wednesday, and are up more than 65% this year. The stock hit an all-time intraday high of $111.25 earlier in the afternoon, bringing Target's market cap to more than $56.3 billion.

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