JC Penney CEO Jill Soltau to leave retailer after emerging from bankruptcy
The signage will be displayed outside a JC Penney Co. store in Chicago, Illinois.
Christopher Dilts | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Jill Soltau, CEO of JC Penney, who wanted to flip the contested department store, will leave the company on Thursday.
The company’s new owners, Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management, said Wednesday that they are looking for a new leader “focused on modern retail, the customer experience and the goal of creating a sustainable and lasting JCPenney.”
The Plano, Texas-based retailer filed for bankruptcy in May. It was bought by the two US mall owners in the fall and showed up earlier this month. It joined a growing list of retailers marginalized by the coronavirus pandemic. However, the old retailer’s problems began before the global health crisis. Sales have decreased annually since 2016. At the time of filing for bankruptcy, the sales area of around 860 stores in 2001 was less than a quarter of the store base.
About two years ago, the company hired Soltau to advance its turnaround efforts after its former CEO Marvin Ellison left to run Lowe’s. Before that she was CEO of the fabric and handicraft retailer Joann Stores. She also worked for Sears, Kohl’s and Shopko stores. At the time, news of her hiring sent stocks up as investors hoped she would bring fresh ideas and fuel growth in the department store.
This year, however, the company’s efforts were scaled back as its stores were temporarily closed during the pandemic and its already tight finances were hit.
According to a press release, Simon and Brookfield have selected Simon’s chief investment officer Stanley Shashoua as interim CEO. You have started an executive search with the strategic partner Authentic Brands Group. The licensing firm owns interests in other retailers that have emerged from bankruptcy, including Brooks Brothers and Forever 21.