May 6 (Bloomberg) – Target Corp.'s board, seeking a new chief executive officer after pushing out Gregg Steinhafel yesterday, is under pressure to do something it's never done before: hire a leader from outside the company.

The retail chain is working with recruitment firm Korn Ferry, signaling that it's not focusing on internal candidates, said Carol Spieckerman, a retail consultant whose clients include Target suppliers. The company also has increasingly looked outside for other executive roles, including its latest chief information officer and chief marketing officer.

Potential candidates for the top job include HSN Inc. CEO Mindy Grossman, Bon-Ton Stores Inc. chief Brendan Hoffman, Gap Inc. head Glenn Murphy and Victoria's Secret CEO Sharen Turney.

Hiring an external CEO would break with decades of tradition at Minneapolis-based Target, which began in 1962 as part of Dayton Co. Such a move would help the company distance itself from the regime of Steinhafel, who stepped down after a devastating hacker attack and a money-losing Canadian expansion.

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