That easy, inspirational and joyful Target experience you know and love? Whether in store or online, it’s all powered with the help of Target’s digital team, who create the tools and experiences that help deliver the Tarzhay magic. And we’re excited to welcome a new leader who will drive our digital experience into its next chapter. Prat Vemana will join Target as our new chief digital and product officer, where he’ll lead Target’s digital teams including site merchandising, user experience, digital operations and product, and our online marketplace, Target+. Plus, as we continue to build on the record-breaking growth of our digital business over the past few years, Prat will also provide key support for our enterprise-wide product teams by bringing a holistic view to our overall product strategy — helping prioritize what’s most important for our guests, team members and business.
Prat joins Target as a seasoned digital leader, with experience leading and developing digital capabilities across industries including retail, health care and more. He held his most recent role at Kaiser Permanente, where he served as senior vice president and chief digital officer and led its enterprise product management and experience teams. During his time at the company, he advanced and accelerated its digital strategy by modernizing its platforms to migrate, deploy and manage applications with greater speed and agility.
Prat sat down with A Bullseye View to share more about his experience and why he’s excited about Target:
Welcome to Target, Prat. What drew you to the opportunity of becoming Target’s chief digital and product officer?
Target is the gold standard for consumer experience in retail, both online and in its brick-and-mortar stores. I experience this personally. Recently, after placing an online order with Target, I pulled into the parking lot. The app notified me that my order was ready and asked if I wanted to pick up my order using Drive Up. That is amazing customer service. This level of anticipating needs and proactively offering solutions is a big part of why I am so excited about the opportunity to join the team and help shape the way we use digital technology to bring joy to guests.
I am also impressed by the universal appeal of the brand. It is rare to see a single brand that is relevant across generations. My mom, my wife and my daughter all go shopping together at Target, and all three come back excited about what they found!
I’m also thrilled to join a company with such strong values that align with many of my own personal values. I believe that health and wellness is a basic need, not a nice-to-have. And when I think about digital experiences, for example, I’m hard-wired to think about accessibility. It matters to me that Target is a company which takes action on its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
You’ve held leadership positions in a range of industries beyond retail. How will this breadth help you in your new role?
It has led me to develop flexibility and resilience. I believe in adaptive leadership, meaning that it’s important to focus on organizational culture and what is most important for the customers and communities the company serves, creating an environment where the team can succeed and innovate.
The collective good outweighs any single engagement — I take a long-term view and have become a stronger leader through every professional experience I’ve had.
They say everyone has a superpower. What’s yours?
I break silos and build relationships. As someone who leads with optimism, I believe digital is a team sport — important ideas can come from anywhere in the organization. I like to think I use my superpower to bring different viewpoints together and guide the team to a solution that works for everyone.
The most important question of all — what’s in your Target cart?
I never miss the chocolate aisle. I have a special love for caramel and sea salt, and I know I will always find some great fair-trade chocolate in the candy aisle of our Target Marietta East store. My wife, Asha, son, Akshin, and daughter, Riya, are big fans too. In fact, I learned a new term from my daughter when she was home for summer break: “Target hopping.” She and her friend covered three Target stores in six hours!