J.C. Penney Hires Its First Female CEO

Classic American retailer J.C. Penney has selected Jill Soltau as its next CEO. Soltau is a native of Viroqua, Wisconsin and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Previously, she held roles as CEO of JOANN fabric and craft stores and as president of Shopko. Soltau’s appointment as CEO makes history as she will become the first woman CEO in J.C. Penney’s 116 years in business. She joins the 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs who are women.

Though J.C. Penney has struggled to adapt to the changing retail environment, executives are hopeful that Soltau’s leadership will bring a competitive edge back to the company. Paul Brown, director of the board, said Soltau “stood out from the start among an incredibly strong slate of candidates. As we looked for the right person to lead this iconic company, we wanted someone with rich apparel and merchandising experience and found Jill to be an ideal fit.” Company stocks jumped ten percent on Tuesday after the announcement of her hiring.


Soltau will take over on Monday, October 15th as J.C. Penney enters the all-important holiday season in retail.