The Simon Property Group, Brookfield Asset Management and Authentic Brands Group, the new owners of JCPenney, are looking for a new chief executive officer for the apparel and home retailer.
JCPenney’s current CEO Jill Soltau will officially exit the company today and Stanley Shashoua, Simon’s chief investment officer, will take on the role as interim CEO starting January 1, 2021.
“The search will seek to identify a leader that is focused on modern retail, the consumer experience, and the goal of creating a sustainable and enduring JC Penney,” said the owners in a statement.
Since the news broke, JCPenney’s stock has climbed 7.2 percent.
The retailer’s operations emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this month through a deal in which Simon and Brookfield purchased its retail and operating assets. Authentic Brands Group, meanwhile, is seen as a strategic partner as it is providing JCPenney stores and its eCommerce website with merchandise from brands within the ABG portfolio.
The announcement provided no explanation as to why the decision was made to replace Soltau.
It is likely that Soltau would have preferred to stay on as CEO as when the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last May, she was granted a $4.5 million retention bonus if she stayed on through the course of the bankruptcy — something that is typically seen when retailers head into bankruptcy.
However, the Dallas Morning News revealed that Soltau was required to return 80 percent of the bonus if she was terminated before Jan. 31, 2021.
The department store exited its bankruptcy with 690 stores and free of roughly $4 billion in debt.
At this point, it looks like Simon Property Group is taking the lead on all decisions regarding the retailer as the current interim CEO is a Simon executive.
“We have always been firm believers in JCPenney and are very pleased to help preserve this iconic institution and save tens of thousands of jobs. JCPenney is now poised for a future focused on innovation and consumers while continuing to navigate through the pandemic. We are excited about JCPenney’s future growth and look forward to collaborating with the JCPenney team to serve its customers and communities,” said Simon Property Group when the deal closed earlier this month.