Jodee Kozlak, who was Target Corp.’s human resources chief for the past nine years, will join Alibaba Group as global senior vice president of human resources, the Chinese e-commerce company announced Friday.
Target separately announced that it promoted Stephanie Lundquist, a human resources executive with a decade of experience at the Minneapolis-based retailer, to succeed Kozlak as HR chief.
With the move, Kozlak, 52, joins a company that is smaller than Target but one that is growing far more quickly and considered by investors to be much more valuable. Alibaba has dominated the Chinese e-commerce market for more than a decade. Its 2014 initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange was the largest in U.S. history.
For Target, Kozlak’s departure marks another significant change in the group of executives who directly report to Chief Executive Brian Cornell, who has been with the company for 19 months.
The company’s human resources department becomes the fifth major unit with a leadership change since Cornell took over. He also hired a new chief financial officer, chief information officer and chief risk and compliance officer, and is looking for a chief merchandising officer. He created the role of chief operating officer, shifting finance chief John Mulligan into that job.
Kozlak became Target’s top human resources leader in March 2007, after serving as a senior vice president in the department for a year. She had previously been an executive and general counsel in the human resources unit.
“Jodee’s contributions in the past 15 years have made a tremendous impact on Target and our team members globally,” Cornell said in a statement.
Kozlak joined the company in 2001 from the Minneapolis law firm of Greene Espel, where she was a partner. She has been active with a number of Twin Cities cultural and educational institutions, including the boards of the Guthrie Theater and the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. She is also on the board of C.H. Robinson, the logistics company based in Eden Prairie.
Lundquist, 40, was most recently senior vice president of human resources at Target and was responsible for personnel at the company’s Minneapolis headquarters as well as its operations in India.
“Stephanie has played a critical leadership role in Target’s transformation efforts, developing and initiating the human resources strategies necessary to drive long-term growth for Target,” Cornell said. “She’s been a leading voice as we push ourselves to think differently and work in new ways across Target.”
Lundquist wasn’t available for comment, a Target spokeswoman said, and Kozlak couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
At Alibaba, Kozlak is expected to play a key role in the company’s international expansion. The firm, which generated about $15 billion in revenue last year, provides software that is used by both consumers on smartphones and businesses in their data centers to facilitate transactions. Alibaba services are used by 450 million people daily. Its main shopping site, called Taobao, accounts for about 80 percent of all e-commerce transactions in China. Its Alipay financial payments system is ubiquitous in the country, used for purchases of all kinds and even to transfer money between people’s smartphones.
The firm now employs about 250 people in the U.S., chiefly in offices in the San Francisco area and Seattle with new ones to open in New York and Washington. Kozlak is likely to divide her time among the Bay Area, New York and the company’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China. She will report to Jane Jiang, who co-founded Alibaba with Chief Executive Jack Ma and is its HR chief, and to Michael Evans, the company’s president.
The firm is trying to attract more American businesses to sell products to Chinese consumers, an effort that is driving its expansion in the U.S.