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12/30/2020

J.C. Penney CEO exits

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
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Jill Soltau
Jill Soltau

J.C. Penney has started the search for a new chief executive.

Jill Soltau, who took the reins of the struggling department store chain in October 2018 and saw it through bankruptcy, left Penney on Dec. 31. In a brief announcement, the new owners of Penney's retail operations  — Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management — along with strategic partner Authentic Brands Group said that they have launched a search to “identify a leader that is focused on modern retail, the consumer experience, and the goal of creating a sustainable and enduring J.C. Penney.”   (Penney emerged from Chapter 11 in December with some 690 stores.) 

A temporary office of the CEO has been formed that includes key members of Penney’s current leadership team. Stanley Shashoua, Simon Property Group’s chief investment officer, took over as interim CEO effective January 1.

The new owners did not give any reason for the departure of  Soltau, who is well-regarded in the retail industry.  Prior to joining Penney, she served as president and CEO of Joann Stores, the nation's largest fabric and crafts retailer. Soltau also served in leadership positions at Kohl’s, Sears and Shopko.