JCPenney names Jill Soltau as its new CEO

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Why JCPenney is in serious trouble

Jill Soltau, a veteran retail chief most just lately in control of Joann cloth and craft shops, will likely be tasked with turning round JCPenney.

The corporate introduced on Tuesday that Soltau will take over as its chief government starting on October 15. JCPenney has been leaderless since Marvin Ellison left in Might to take the highest job at Lowe’s.

Soltau, 51, would be the 25th lady presently main a Fortune 500 firm, in accordance with Fortune journal. She is going to grow to be Penney’s fifth chief government prior to now decade.

She is going to make a base wage of $1.four million, with a $6 million signing bonus and will likely be eligible for annual performance-based bonuses.

In an indication that Soltau has Wall Road’s approval to start out, shares rose 10% in prolonged buying and selling.

Soltau will face a frightening activity: turning round JCPenney (JCP), a former retail heavyweight that has fallen greater than 50% this yr and slipped to shut to $1.50 a share. Penney is presently with out its chief monetary officer. Jeffrey Davis resigned final week solely 14 months after taking the job.

The challenges at JCPenney are monumental. It’s greater than $four billion in debt and has posted a revenue in solely two quarters in the course of the previous 4 years. Penney misplaced $101 million in its most up-to-date quarter.

JCPenney’s decline comes at a second when rival malls Nordstrom (JWN), Kohl’s (KSS) and Macy’s (M) have demonstrated a capability to reinvent their companies for the digital purchasing period.

Soltau must make powerful selections about Penney’s retailer footprint. The corporate has 860 shops and a whole lot of them are in struggling malls. JCPenney additionally has a glut of clothes piling up at its warehouses and shops.

Penney has been trying to find a frontrunner with merchandising expertise to assist it make higher selections about which manufacturers to promote in shops.

“We needed somebody with wealthy attire and merchandising expertise and located Jill to be a perfect match,” board director Paul Brown stated in a information launch.

Soltau took over at Joann in 2015. She has additionally held positions at Shopko, Sears, and Kohl’s.

Penney deciding on Soltau indicators the corporate desires to interrupt from Ellison’s technique.

Ellison was a former Dwelling Depot government and led Penney into the equipment enterprise. However his tenure had combined outcomes: Washers and dryers weren’t main attracts for patrons and its clothes assortment suffered.

Penney believes its core customers are middle-aged girls. Earlier this month, Penney launched Artesia, a brand new girls’s stylish model for lower than $30.

—CNNMoney’s Julia Carpenter contributed to this story.

CNNMoney (New York) First printed October 2, 2018: four:51 PM ET

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