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JCPenney CEO Out; New Owners Start Executive Search

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JCPenney CEO Jill Soltau has stepped down as the retailer’s new owners, Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management, begin a search for a new leader to reinvigorate the retailer. Stanley Shashoua, Chief Investment Officer at Simon, will serve as interim CEO, supported by a temporary office of the CEO that includes “key members of JCPenney’s current leadership team.”

Simon and Brookfield are aiming to “identify a leader that is focused on modern retail, the consumer experience and the goal of creating a sustainable and enduring JCPenney.” Authentic Brands, which has previously worked with Simon to acquire Brooks Brothers and Lucky Brand, will serve as a strategic partner during the search.

Soltau joined JCPenney in October 2018 with the goal of spearheading a turnaround at the struggling retailer. However, the effort was slowed by multiple executive shakeups, and completely stalled when the coronavirus pandemic forced the retailer to temporarily close its stores, leading to the permanent closure of 154 locations. Ultimately, JCPenney filed for bankruptcy in May 2020 and finalized its acquisition by Simon and Brookfield in December 2020.

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