MINNEAPOLIS — Target has upped its two top marketing execs — Katie Boylan and Rick Gomez — as part of a larger revamp of how the retail giant handles its internal and external public relations.

Boylan, an eight-year Target veteran, has been named the company’s chief communications officer, a position that has not been filled since Dustee Jenkins stepped down in 2017.

Boylan, who has been leading comms as a senior VP since Jenkins' departure, will have oversight of internal communications, corporate and brand communications, public affairs and crisis and issues management.

Boylan will now report directly to CEO Brian Cornell instead of CMO Gomez, signalling a significant shift in Target's reporting structure. The communications group, which was previously part of the marketing department, now operates independently, Boylan said.

“Across the board as we thought about a new year and starting 2019, we wanted to build on the health of the business and momentum we are seeing to make changes to help us go further faster,” she said.

Gomez, meanwhile, also is taking on new responsibilities, having added the chief digital officer role to his remit. Gomez will lead Target’s digital team, focusing on personalization, loyalty and the overall shopping experience. Gomez joined Target in 2013 and was named CMO in 2017, and will maintain oversight of the marketing division.

The internal changes come as Target also takes stock of its external dealings with its PR agency partners, primarily through a newly-launched agency review. Target’s agencies are both large and small, including the likes of H+K Strategies and Boden. It does not have an agency of record.

“Target works with a variety of communications agencies to support our business and we routinely look at the landscape to ensure we have the right strategic partners in place. We recently issued an RFI to assess what will be the best approach as we move into 2019,” a company statement said. 

The moves also come on the heels of a largely positive 2018, during which Target saw lifts in business after weathering tough times in previous years. The uptick has been credited to initiatives including improved in-store experiences and a push for more online sales.