Mr. Ulrich, who turns 65 in April, will pass the torch to President Gregg Steinhafel, 52, on May 1. He will retain the title of chairman through the end of fiscal 2008.
During Mr. Ulrich's tenure, Target emerged as a leader in the retail world, with its affordable fashions, designer and celebrity collaborations, and iconic bull's-eye. The retailer also has nearly tripled its store presence and increased net earnings nearly nine-fold during that time.
Mr. Ulrich joined the retailer in 1967 as a merchandising trainee and was eventually tapped as the president of Target Stores in 1984. He became chairman-CEO of that division in 1987 before taking on the role of chairman-CEO of the larger company in 1994.
Mr. Steinhafel has been moving his way through the merchandising ranks at Target since 1979. In 1994, he was named exec VP-merchandising. He has served as president of Target since 1999 and last year was added to the board of directors.