Target CEO Brian Cornell Sees Pay Decrease in 2022

Brian Cornell, chairman and chief executive officer of Target Corp., saw his compensation package decrease by 10.6 percent to $17.7 million last year from $19.8 million in 2021 as his bonus and incentive pay declined.

As is typical for CEOs at major retailers, most of Cornell’s compensation — $14.5 million — came in the form of stock awards, the true value of which will depend on how the company’s shares perform on Wall Street. The idea is to tie the fortunes of the CEO to those of investors.

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Cornell received a $1.4 million salary. However, his bonus and incentive pay fell by 71 percent to a combined $1.1 million from $4 million in 2021 — reflecting the difficult consumer environment last year, which pressured Target and its competitors.

The compensation was reported in the company’s proxy statement to regulators, which included a letter to shareholders from lead independent director Monica Lozano, who said 2022 proved to be “even more unpredictable than expected.”

“On one hand, families began to emerge from the pandemic, resuming traditions and routines that had been delayed or diminished for two years,” Lazano said. “At the same time, families were confronted with new challenges, most notably high inflation. This complicated the return to pre-pandemic norms and forced millions to focus on necessities and alter their shopping habits accordingly.”

The director lauded Target’s leadership team and said they “adjusted quickly with the best interests of stakeholders at heart.”

The company’s workers, among those stakeholders, saw their starting wage rise to a range of $15 to $24 an hour as Target also expanded “eligibility for health and retirement benefits to another 20 percent of the Target team by reducing wait times and work hours required for enrollment,” Lozano said.

A shareholder also proposed the company adopt a policy to have an independent chairman, putting the matter up to a vote at the company’s annual meeting on June 14.

“The roles of chairman and CEO are fundamentally different and should be held by two directors, a CEO and a chairman who is completely independent of the CEO,” said the proposal, from shareholder John Chevedden. “The job of the CEO is to manage the company. The job of the chairman is to oversee the CEO and management.”

Target’s board recommended the proposal be voted down and said “any decision to maintain a combined chair of the board and CEO role or to separate these roles should be based on Target’s specific circumstances, the independence and capabilities of its directors, and the leadership provided by its CEO.”

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