J.C. Penney's Owners Launch Search for New CEO
J.C. Penney’s new owners, Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management, along with strategic partner Authentic Brands Group, announced they have launched a search for a CEO to replace Jill Soltau, who left the company on Dec. 31, 2020, less than a month after the company exited Chapter 11. It’s unclear whether Soltau, who has been CEO since October 2018, quit or was fired. J.C Penney is seeking to identify a leader who is "focused on modern retail, the consumer experience, and the goal of creating a sustainable and enduring J.C. Penney," according to a company press release. Stanley Shashoua, Simon Property Group's chief investment officer, is currently serving as interim CEO. The company has also set up a temporary office of the CEO that includes key members of J.C. Penney’s current leadership team.
Total Retail's Take: It's not surprising that J.C. Penney’s new owners, which purchased the ailing department store chain after it filed for bankruptcy in May 2020, have decided to shake up its leadership team. Soltau, previously the CEO of Joann Fabrics, was brought onboard in 2018 after former CEO Marvin Ellison left to lead Lowe’s. She was tasked with spearheading J.C. Penney's turnaround, and during her tenure developed the company’s strategic initiatives that were focused on driving traffic, offering compelling merchandise, creating an engaging customer experience, fueling growth, and building a results-minded culture. J.C. Penney, however, is still struggling financially despite exiting bankruptcy, and will likely have increasing challenges on the horizon with the pandemic still negatively impacting in-store sales and malls continuing to close.