Target has been looking for a new chief executive after removing Gregg Steinhafel as chairman and CEO in May in the wake of a devastating data breach, which hurt the No.3 U.S. retailer's profit, shook customer confidence in the company and prompted congressional hearings.
Steinhafel had been Target's CEO since 2008 and his departure also followed the company's botched multi-billion dollar expansion into Canada.
The Minneapolis-based company had named its Chief Financial Officer John Mulligan as interim chief executive.
Cornell, who has spent nearly a decade at PepsiCo, was a contender to succeed PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, the Journal said.
PepsiCo said it looked forward to working with Cornell at Target and would announce his successor soon, the newspaper reported.
Cornell, who will begin his new job on Aug. 12, earlier spent three years at Wal-Mart Stores Inc where he ran the Sam's Club warehouse chain. He was also the CEO of arts and crafts chain Michael's Stores Inc for two years, the newspaper said.
Target and Pepsi did not immediately respond to emails seeking comments.