After spending time in many corners of our business over a 15-years-and-counting Target career, new Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Michael Fiddelke is back where he began. Sort of.
A “finance guy at heart,” Michael’s first full-time role at the Bullseye was as a financial analyst, and he spent five years within finance before embarking on a Target tour that took him to leadership positions on our merchandising, operations, human resources and store operations teams. He learned a lot along the way about how a strong finance function is a foundation that keeps our business firing on all cylinders.
Now, Michael’s looking forward to using learnings from those experiences to help build stronger connections among our teams as we continue to make finance a competitive advantage for Target in this dynamic retail landscape. To kick off his first week as CFO, he sat down to tell us more about himself.
Congrats on the new role! So what’s kept you at Target all these years?
I’ve always been impressed by the caliber of this team’s talent, and have worked with so many wonderful people over the years. I love the fast pace of retail, I love to learn, and I love how in retail learning is accelerated because you get feedback on what’s working and what’s not in real time. I’m a numbers guy, and it’s exciting to be able to use data to make decisions, make smart bets and get constant feedback from our guests so we can keep making their experience better. As soon as I feel like I have something figured out, there’s a new challenge to tackle.
How does your experience from other areas of the company influence the way you’ll lead your new team?
My first role outside of finance really opened my eyes to the impact this team has throughout the organization, and that’s been underscored over and over for the last decade. I know how important it is for finance to be a strong partner, which is a top priority for me in this new role. I’m also super curious by nature, so I ask a lot of questions. And I’ve learned to admit when I’m not the expert, and quickly bring in the right people to figure out solutions.
What role does the finance team play in Target’s purpose of helping families discover joy?
A really important one. So much of what we do—from providing timely and accurate financials, to maintaining our RedCard portfolio, to helping our guests in our service centers, to stewarding our strong balance sheet—creates an incredibly important foundation for the company. And with a strong foundation in retail you get to play offense, where we can leverage smart financial analysis to shape our bets—be it remodeling stores, launching owned brands, or expanding our services—to bring our guests the new products and experiences they love.
What’s something from your Target journey so far that’s really stuck with you?
What comes to mind is my first trip to Target in India, our office in Bangalore that’s an extension of the U.S. headquarters, and home to 3,000 team members who support many aspects of our business. I was struck by the tremendous passion our entire Target in India team has for our brand, even though most of them have never stepped inside a Target store. It reinforced for me the enduring power of our brand and culture over time, miles and a changing retail landscape, and the value of being a good global citizen.
When you’re not crunching numbers at Target, what do you like to do for fun?
My wife and I have three young kids who keep us busy. Piano lessons, soccer practice, birthday parties … pretty typical family weekend stuff but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I never miss an Iowa Hawkeyes football game, especially when they’re playing [Chief Operating Officer] John Mulligan’s Badgers. And our family just got a puppy, a labradoodle named Bailey—which I’m finding is like having a new baby that also chews on your furniture.