American discount retailer Target‘s chief executive officer Gregg Steinhafel has resigned marking the first high-profile exit since the retailer suffered a massive data theft in December 2013 that affected up to 110 million customers.

Steinhafel, who has been with Target for over 30 years and as its CEO since 2008, stepped down nearly five months after Target disclosed a huge pre-Christmas breach.

He also resigned from the board of directors, Target announced.

A statement from Target’s board of directors said that Steinhafel "held himself personally accountable and pledged that Target would emerge a better company".

"We are grateful to him for his tireless leadership and will always consider him a member of the Target family," it added.

The company’s chief financial officer, John Mulligan, will serve as interim president and chief executive officer.

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By GlobalData

Target had to incur $17m net expenses on costs related to investigation of the breach, and measures taken for data protection.

Post the massive data breach last year, the 1,800-store chain retailer is working with consulting firm Promontory Financial Group to evaluate its security processes, technology and talent.

It is also upgrading its store cards and payment systems to a more secure technology.

The credit-card security breach involved theft of personal information of 70 million users and payment card data of 40 million customers.

Federal authorities are looking into the data breach.