Soltau Out As JCPenney CEO

Jill Soltau is leaving her post as JCPenney CEO today, to be succeeded on an interim basis by Stanley Shashoua, the chief investment officer of Simon Property Group.

Mall owners Simon and Brookfield Asset Management, which teamed acquire the J.C. Penney Co. retail operating company assets and take the business out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier in December under the JCPenney name, said in a statement they will seek a new CEO focused on “modern retail.” The statement provided no explanation for the CEO change.

Retailing veteran Soltau became CEO of J.C. Penney in October 2018. Prior to that, she was president and CEO of Joann Stores, after serving as president of Shopko. Prior to her tenure at Shopko, she 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.

Soltau was retained as CEO of J.C. Penney after its bankruptcy filing this past May.

Authentic Brands Group, a private-equity held group that owns though the Sparc Group partnership with Simon such brands as Aeropostale, Nautica, Forever 21, Lucky Brand and Brooks Brothers, is reported to be working with Simon and Brookfield as a strategic partner in the JCPenney relaunch and CEO search.

J.C. Penney was split during the bankruptcy into the operating company owned by Simon and Brookfield, and a property company owned by lenders. The property company remains in Chapter 11, expected to emerge in the first half of 2021, according to reports.

Simon and Brookfield will establish a temporary office of the CEO that will include members of JCPenney’s current management team, according to the statement.