Company: Target Corp.
How he’s leading: The Target merchandising guru oversees about 15% of DVD sales in the U.S.
Like his main rivals over in Bentonville, Ark., the 52-year-old son of a Milwaukee furniture store owner keeps his head down when it comes to the news media — in fact, his handlers say he has a standing policy not to talk to the trade press.
And also like his competitors at Wal-Mart, Steinhafel — a leading candidate to succeed Target CEO Robert Ulrich, having made a name for himself with bold merchandising looks — is not at all shy when it comes to throwing his weight around the homevid biz.
In October, Steinhafel sent a letter to all the majors, urging them not to undercut Target’s price points on DVDs with movie downloads.
Steinhafel was specifically irate with Disney over its iTunes pricing; Target reportedly pulled in-store promos for Disney-Pixar’s “Cars” and other Mouse House products in response — that is, until Disney threatened to withhold DVD shipments of summer blockbuster “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.”
POV: “Target cannot be expected simply to accept that risk and continue to do business as usual,” Steinhafel wrote in his letter to the studios. “Our space, signing, promotional programs and the hundreds of millions of consumers in our stores annually should not be undervalued.”
Homevid Leader Report: