The Retail Industry Leaders Association said Monday that it had elected Target Corp. chairman and chief executive officer Brian Cornell as chairman. He success Bill Rhodes and will serve a two-year term. Other board members were elected as well during RILA’s semiannual board meeting in Tucson, Ariz., on Sunday.

The association’s new board members include, Gina Boswell, president of customer development, Unilever; Mark Breitbard, president and ceo, Banana Republic and Gap Inc.; Michele Buck, president ceo, The Hershey Co., and Richard Keyes, president and ceo, Meijer Inc.

“The past year was one of tremendous change in retail as we saw fundamental shifts in where and how people choose to shop,” Cornell said. “We also saw firsthand the power of our industry when we find common ground and advocate for consumers. As RILA’s chairman, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to build upon our shared successes and help drive positive change for our customers, our teams and our industry.” 

“Our success is in large part a result of [the board’s] commitment to collaborate with one another and provide us with critical insights and direction,” RILA president Sandy Kennedy said.

Cornell, who served for three years on the RILA board, said, “Without a doubt, the battle over the border adjustment tax was unprecedented, and it showed us that there’s an opportunity for more retailers to engage in public policy on an ongoing basis and advance our common agenda.”

Opportunities for collaboration extend beyond Washington, Cornell said, adding, “my goals include working together to support the retail industry’s transformation and create a more diverse and inclusive next generation of retail leaders.”

Cornell admitted that the retail industry will continue to roil with change, but hopes the worst has past. “Some once-great brands disappeared, and we saw record store closures and layoffs at levels not seen since the great recession,” he said of 2017. “Retail is anything but dead. This holiday season was one of the strongest in years. People all over the world still love to shop. Consumer preferences and shopping behaviors continue to evolve. We’re moving fast to respond and anticipate what’s next. Our job is to create more new and exciting ways to elevate the experience in this digital era.”

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