The sign is displayed outside the JC Penney Co. store in Chicago, Illinois.
Christopher Dilts | Bloomberg | Getty Images
JC Penney CEO Jill Soltau (Jill Soltau) will leave the company on Thursday.
The company’s new owners, Simon Real Estate Group and Brookfield Asset Management, said on Wednesday that they are looking for new leaders “they are focused on modern retail, consumer experience and the goal of creating a sustainable and enduring JCPenney.”
The Plano, Texas-based retailer filed for bankruptcy in May. It was bought by the owners of two American malls in the fall and appeared earlier this month. It joined an increasing number of retailers and was pushed to the brink by the coronavirus pandemic. However, the troubles of this traditional retailer began before the global health crisis. Since 2016, its sales have been declining every year. At the time of bankruptcy protection, its approximately 860 stores were less than a quarter of the total number of stores in 2001.
About two years ago, after former CEO Marvin Ellison left to lead Lowe’s, the company hired Soltau to lead its transformation. She previously served as CEO of Joann Stores, a retailer of fabrics and handicrafts. She has also worked in Sears, Kohl’s and Shopko stores. At the time, the news that she was hired made the stock soar because investors wanted her to bring new ideas and promote the development of the department store.
However, this year, the company’s efforts were frustrated due to the temporary closure of its stores during the pandemic and the destruction of already strained financial conditions.
According to the press release, Simon and Brookfield have selected Simon’s Chief Investment Officer Stanley Shasova as interim CEO. They have launched an executive search with their strategic partner Authentic Brands Group. The authorized company owns shares acquired from other retailers after bankruptcy, including Brooks Brothers and Forever 21.