MINNEAPOLIS-Douglas Dayton, Target’s founder and first president, has died. He was 88.
Dayton was a grandson of George D. Dayton, first president of the company that ultimately became Dayton-Hudson; and one of four sons of George N. Dayton, all of whom worked in executive positions for Dayton-Hudson. According to an obituary written by the Dayton family that appeared on the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s website, Dayton joined the family business in 1948 in advanced in executive positions through the 1950s. He founded and became president of Target in 1960, and the first Target store opened two years later.
Dayton left his Target post in 1968 and returned to Dayton-Hudson as senior vice president of administration. He left Dayton-Hudson to found Dade Development Capital, where he stayed until his retirement in 1994.
Gregg Steinhafel, Target’s current chairman, president and CEO, credited Dayton for being “instrumental in helping to guide the strategic direction of Dayton Hudson Corporation for many years and institutionalize the values that are at the heart of Target Corp. today.”
Dayton is survived by his wife, Wendy; children David, Steve, Bruce and Elizabeth; six grandchildren; and his brother, Bruce.