J.C. Penney replaces head of stores with Shopko vet

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J.C. Penney replaces head of stores with Shopko vet

By Marianne Wilson - 07/31/2019
J.C. Penney CEO Jill Soltau, who took the reins last fall, continues to remake its management team as part of her efforts to turnaround the ailing chain.

The department store retailer announced that James (Jim) DePaul has been named executive VP of stores, effective August 5. He replaces Michael Robbins, executive VP of stores and supply chain, who is leaving the company, effective August 3. Robbins, who joined Penney in 2015 from Target, was one of the top executives brought in by former Penney CEO Marvin Ellison.

DePaul joins Penney from Shopko Stores, where he most recently served as COO, with previous roles that included include chief administrative officer and senior VP of stores and operations. At Penney, he will report directly to Soltau, who spent eight years at Shopko in the roles of president, executive VP and chief merchandising officer from 2007-2015. (Shopko liquidated its operations in spring after filing for bankruptcy in January.)

DePaul began his career in 1995 and spent three years in merchandising and operations positions at Target Corp. before joining Shopko in 1998 as a store manager.

At Penney, DePaul will be responsible for improving in-store and omnichannel operations as part of the company’s focus on transforming the customer experience to grow customer traffic, engagement and retention. He will oversee stores, store operations, store environment and design, and asset protection teams.

“I am delighted to welcome Jim to our team of highly talented retail experts at J.C. Penney,” said Soltau. “His track record of delivering a positive, end-to-end customer experience through seamless omnichannel integration makes him a perfect choice as we deliver on our commitment to providing an engaging and rewarding shopping experience for our customers.”

The executives brought in by Soltau since she took over as Penney CEO include Shawn Gensch as chief customer officer and Michelle Wlazlo as chief merchant. Both are Target veterans. In June, Victor Ejarque Lopez, previously general merchandise manager of global operations at Guess, was named senior VP, general merchandise manager for women’s apparel. And in July, Paul Jones, former CEO of Payless ShoeSource, was elected to the Penney board. Prior to Payless, he served as president, chairman and CEO of Shopko Stores from 2009 to 2012.

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