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Jo-Ann Fabric names Shopko exec as CEO


Hudson, Ohio -- Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores has named a 25-year retailing veteran, former Shopko exec Jill Soltau, as president, CEO and a member of the board, effective March 2. She succeeds Jim Kerr, who has served as interim CEO since August when Travis Smith stepped down. Kerr will continue as executive VP and CFO.

Soltau joins Jo-Ann with more than 25 years of diverse experience in the retail industry. She most recently served as president of Shopko, rising to that role after earning various executive positions of increasing responsibility since joining in 2007.

“We are excited to partner with Jill as we continue to build upon Jo-Ann’s leading position in the fabric and craft industry. Jill’s passion, strategic vision and proven success make her an excellent leader for the company going forward,” said Todd Purdy, a partner with Leonard Green & Partners, the private equity firm that owns the retailer.

Prior to her tenure at Shopko, Soltau held several senior level positions in merchandising, planning and private brand management at Sears and Kohl’s, after starting her career with Carson Pirie Scott.

Jo-Ann operates some 850 stores nationwide.

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