Retail heavyweight Target Corp. has hired a 16-year supply chain veteran away from Amazon.com Inc., turning the tables on the Seattle e-commerce juggernaut's poaching of executives from logistics firms.
Minneapolis-based Target named Arthur Valdez as its new executive vice president, chief supply chain and logistics officer. Valdez will lead an ongoing effort to transform Target's supply chain, overseeing the planning, distribution, and transportation operations for the chain's 1,800 stores and website.
Valdez leaves Amazon as vice president of operations, focused on the company's international supply chain expansion. During his time at Amazon, Valdez had run its global and domestic supply chains, which included transportation, fulfillment, and logistics.
Valdez's hiring is a turnabout of sorts for Amazon, which has been hiring top executives from transport and logistics companies as part of a plan to build a transportation and logistics operation. Last year, Amazon engaged a large headhunting firm—whose name was never disclosed—to recruit top parcel industry executives. It has more than 40 managers and supervisors just from UPS Inc., which is one of Amazon's largest shipping partners. Amazon never comments on these reports, choosing instead to filter information through third parties to communicate its actions to the marketplace.
Target has been overhauling its omnichannel fulfillment operations since Brian Cornell took the CEO job in 2014, pledging to cut costs through corporate downsizing, invest the savings in IT and supply chain technologies, and shake up logistics leadership.
The most recent example of that strategy was promoting chief financial officer John Mulligan to the position of chief operating officer in August 2015; he was charged with running the global top-ten retailer's supply chain, stores, and properties. Five months before, Cornell had dismissed Michael Robbins, then senior vice president of global supply chain and logistics. In June, Kathee Tesija, executive vice president and chief merchandising and supply chain officer, left the company.
"While we've made significant progress in improving our operations, Target's growth hinges on our ability to enhance the fundamental aspects of our business, starting with the supply chain," Mulligan said in a statement.