News • 22.09.2021

NRF announces Brian Cornell as "The visionary 2022"

Target CEO wins the the Visionary Award for his strong commitment to his team and customers

Man in suit smiles at the camera
Brian Cornell, Board Chairman and CEO of Target
Source: Target

The National Retail Federation has announced that Target Board Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian Cornell will receive The Visionary award, given each year to an outstanding retail industry leader. The award will be presented during the seventh annual NRF Foundation Honors on January 16 in New York City.

“Brian Cornell’s purpose-driven leadership and strategic vision reflect an unwavering commitment to his team, and a keen ability to cut through the noise and truly understand what American families want and need,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “From spearheading billions of dollars in investments in Target’s team and bold business strategy, to cultivating a culture of care among hundreds of thousands of employees, to helping guide the industry throughout the challenges of the pandemic, Brian is an inspiring and innovative leader committed to making a positive impact inside and outside his company. Brian’s career and servant leadership are exemplary of why The Visionary award was created.”

The Visionary award is presented each year to a retail executive who has driven positive change for the industry. Cornell was selected for his success in creating a business model and culture that stems from Target’s core purpose: Helping all families discover the joy of everyday life. He has prioritized investing in team members and placing stores at the center of Target’s omnichannel strategy to better serve the thousands of communities Target reaches. 

Past recipients include Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass; Nike Chairman, President and CEO Mark Parker; Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon; and Levi Strauss & Co. President and CEO Chip Bergh.

“Years of bold investments in our strategy and capabilities have enabled our team to meet the needs of American consumers in any environment, including through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic,” Cornell said. “I couldn’t be more grateful to NRF for recognizing how Target’s 350,000 team members are putting our purpose and values, our unique business strengths, and our size and scale to work for all families, as we drive toward better outcomes for all people and the planet.”

Cornell will also be featured as a keynote speaker at NRF’s 110th annual convention, NRF 2022: Retail’s Big Show. Nearly 30,000 retailers, vendors and industry leaders from countries around the world will gather in-person in New York City January 16-18 to showcase the next chapter of retail.

Cornell joined Target in 2014 as chairman and CEO. He leads the organization’s global business, including the company’s more than 1,900 U.S. stores, digital properties, supply chain and sourcing operations. During his tenure, he has established a strategic direction that builds on Target’s strengths as a multicategory mass merchandiser with a reputation for its shopping experience, design expertise, brand curation and brand development. Cornell and his team have invested heavily in digital, data and supply chain capabilities, placing the company’s fleet of stores at the center both of physical shopping and digital fulfillment, and solidifying Target’s position as one of today’s leading retailers. He has also spearheaded ongoing investments in wages, benefits, training and development, and diverse and equitable representation for the Target team.

Prior to Target, Cornell spent more than 30 years in leadership positions at leading retail and consumer-product companies. Past roles include CEO of renowned brands including Michaels, Sam's Club and PepsiCo Americas Foods, a subsidiary of PepsiCo, and Chief Marketing Officer at Safeway Inc. 

Since 2015, the NRF Foundation Honors has raised the funds to continue to provide programs and resources that connect people to an industry that is a great place to start and grow. The Honors celebrates the retail professionals building better lives and stronger communities and is the NRF Foundation’s biggest stage for telling the story of how retail builds extraordinary careers.

Source: National Retail Federation

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