2022 John Wooden Global Leadership Honoree
Brian Cornell (B.A. ’81, CERT ’91)
Board Chairman and CEO, Target
Board Chairman and CEO, Target
Board Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Target
As board chairman and CEO, Brian Cornell heads the dynamic global team behind Target, a leading omnichannel growth company in American retail. Based in Minneapolis, Target has nearly 2,000 stores covering all 50 American states, a headquarters location in India and global supply chain and sourcing offices. Together, Target’s purpose-driven team of more than 400,000 works daily to help all families discover the joy of everyday life.
Brian joined Target in 2014 and quickly established a strategic direction that built on the company’s strengths as a multicategory mass merchandiser with an excellent reputation for its shopping experience, design expertise, brand curation and brand development. Brian and team made enormous investments in digital, data and supply chain capabilities, placing the company’s fleet of popular stores at the center both of physical shopping and digital fulfillment, a move that was considered counterintuitive and met with skepticism at the time. This and the 2017 acquisition of Shipt catapulted Target into a leadership position in same-day, store-based fulfillment services, driving the company’s strongest growth trends in its 60-year history.
At the same time, knowing that the Target team and culture were central to success, Brian spearheaded vast investments in wages, benefits, team training and development, diverse and equitable representation, and a corporate culture that helps all team members care, grow and win together.
In 2022, Brian was named the “Visionary” by the National Retail Federation, and Target received the top ranking on People Magazine’s 100 Companies that Care list. In recent years, CNN named Brian the Top CEO of the Year and Target ranked second on Fortune’s Best Big Companies to Work For.
Prior to joining Target, Brian spent more than 30 years in escalating leadership positions at leading retail and consumer-product companies. His work took him from North America to Asia, Europe and Latin America and provided insights that he leverages at Target today.
Brian currently serves on the National Retail Federation’s executive committee and on The Business Council. He is the non-executive chairman of the board for Yum! Brands, and he previously served as chairman of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and as a director for The Home Depot and Polaris Industries.
A career-long advocate of diversity and inclusion in corporate leadership, Brian is a board member for Catalyst and served on the Council for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. The Network of Executive Women honored Brian with the William J. Grize Gender Diversity Award, and he also received the Yale Legend in Leadership Award. Most recently, Target received the Executive Leadership Council’s (ELC) 2022 Corporate Award for its longstanding commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Brian earned a bachelor’s degree from UCLA in 1981 and attended the Anderson School of Management.