Written by The Business Journal Staff
(AP) — Target’s chief marketing officer is leaving the company and heading to Uber.
The retail chain announced in a regulatory filing Tuesday that Jeff Jones is leaving Sept. 9. In a separate announcement, Uber said Jones will be president of ridesharing and will be responsible for Uber’s operations, marketing and customer support globally.
Jones had joined Target as head of marketing in 2012 and had been part of Target’s campaign to reinvent itself and restore its coolness factor. His exit, which comes as Target is revving up its efforts for the crucial holiday season, follows the departures of other executives who have left the Minneapolis-based company under CEO Brian Cornell.
Target said it is launching an internal and external search for Jones’ successor and that it’s confident in the holiday plans already underway.
Uber said in a post on its website that it is looking to Jones to integrate its rapidly growing marketing efforts with its city operations.
Under Cornell’s stewardship, Jones had worked to revitalize Target’s marketing. Last holiday season, the company further integrated digital marketing into its holiday advertising. It also launched a temporary pop-up shop called Target Wonderland in Manhattan that offered a giant Etch-a Sketch that kids could interact with. Target says that it was using it as a test to see which experiences could be rolled out in stores.
“Jeff Jones has modernized Target’s marketing and helped drive Target’s strategy, creating momentum for the company and positioning Target for the future,” Cornell said in a statement. “He worked tirelessly to sharpen our focus on the guest and evolved our marketing capabilities to center on the important role digital plays in their lives.”
The departure comes as Target has hit a bump in its path of reinvention. The company cut its profit forecast and a key sales outlook earlier this month, as it saw fewer customers in its stores. Traffic fell in the second quarter for the first time in a year and a half. Sales fell 1.1 percent, reversing seven straight quarters of gains.
Target acknowledged its failure to push the second part of its “Expect More, Pay Less” slogan as the main factor. It’s also wrestling with other company-specific woes as well as industrywide problems, ranging from a lack of new electronics for sale and lingering disruptions caused by the sale last year of its pharmacy business to CVS. It’s also struggling to get the right grocery offerings.
Target’s shares slipped a little more than 1 percent, or 91 cents, to $70.14 in afternoon trading.