Over the past 14 years, Brett Craig has led teams across Target, including in technology, digital and merchandising. Originally a self-taught programmer, his natural curiosity drives him to explore how technology connects to and shapes the future of retail commerce. In his newest role as our chief information officer (CIO), Brett is excited to use his unique background to guide Target’s technology strategy and team as he takes the lead from Mike McNamara, who announced his retirement last year.
We sat down with Brett to hear how he’s been gearing up for the new role.
Congratulations! What drew you to this next adventure as our CIO?
It boiled down to my love of technology, the scale of opportunity and most notably, the team. This is a chance to work with thousands of world-class technologists building products and platforms that impact millions of people every day. Our tech, data sciences and cybersecurity teams are simply doing an incredible job enabling Target's strategy and advancing everything we do in service to our purpose. That’s a journey we’re going to accelerate, and Target’s culture of care, grow and win together will lead the way. How Target tech and our teams work together across the company is one of the most unique differentiators of our success.
How Target tech and our teams work together across the company is one of the most unique differentiators of our success.
What has guided you throughout your career so far?
I began serving in the U.S. Navy at 19 and gained a lot of important perspective early in life because of it. I experienced cultures from all around the world, which helped shape a lifelong appreciation and commitment to diversity and inclusion. Camaraderie with my shipmates taught me that teamwork is both crucial and assuring. And it was during my time on USS Leyte Gulf, CG-55, that I started teaching myself how to code with an early edition of “A Book on C.” I realized quite quickly how revolutionary technology was, and it has turned into the most rewarding passion and career I could have asked for.
I’ve always made time to teach myself new skills (like the guitar, which I’m working on now) and I love that Target’s tech team members commit to spending 50 Days of Learning each year. I’ll continue to champion continuous learning and experimenting through our team’s Demo Days, Hackathons, Store Labs, Guest Experience Center and more.
How will technology and data continue to influence the Target shopping experience?
I believe the future of commerce depends on technology — and our success depends on the ability to innovate, but also prioritize. At Target, we need to stay focused on what matters most to our guests and business as retail continues to evolve. That means things like enabling more personalized, relevant and seamless experiences for our guests, and creating new features and offerings that will bring even more guests to our stores, Target.com and the Target app. Technology and data are key to elevating our business and guest experience, and I look forward to helping Target tech partner with teams across Target, and with our suppliers, to continue bringing joy into our guest’s lives.
I believe the future of commerce depends on technology — and our success depends on the ability to innovate, but also prioritize.
What hopes do you have for the tech industry overall, and how might Target help lead the way?
I care deeply about our Target Forward environmental and social sustainability strategy and the positive impact technology can have on humans and the planet. There’s so much opportunity for the industry to have a large role in reducing waste and creating equity for both consumers and technologists themselves. I want technology to help people have experiences they couldn’t have before, and for more people to have access to careers in tech fields. We’re already making great strides when it comes to career access on our team through custom initiatives like the Emerging Engineer Program and Engineering Manager Immersion Program, as well as with our long-standing partners like Genesys Works, which supports underrepresented students in securing technology internships.
There’s so much opportunity for the industry to have a large role in reducing waste and creating equity for both consumers and technologists themselves.
Lastly, of course, what’s in your Target cart?
My family always enjoys sampling the newest food and beverage products. Good & Gather snack bars are my jam — I eat a few of them every day. And I’m often wearing a graphic t-shirt, so I usually pick up a new one every time I’m shopping.
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