Jill Soltau is Chief Executive Officer of J. C. Penney Company, Inc. Soltau joined the Company as CEO and became a member of the Board of Directors in October 2018. One of the nation’s largest apparel and home retailers, JCPenney employs more than 98,000 associates globally and operates over 860 stores and logistics facilities across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, generating $12.5 billion in annual sales revenue. Soltau has 30 years of experience in the retail industry, previously serving as President and CEO of JOANN Stores, a specialty retailer that offers fabrics and crafting supplies in over 850 stores in 49 states. – read more
Jill Soltau is Chief Executive Officer of J. C. Penney Company, Inc. Soltau joined the Company as CEO and became a member of the Board of Directors in October 2018. One of the nation’s largest apparel and home retailers, JCPenney employs more than 98,000 associates globally and operates over 860 stores and logistics facilities across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, generating $12.5 billion in annual sales revenue.
Soltau has 30 years of experience in the retail industry, previously serving as President and CEO of JOANN Stores, a specialty retailer that offers fabrics and crafting supplies in over 850 stores in 49 states. A highly accomplished retail merchant and former general merchandise manager, she was brought to JOANN Stores in 2015, charged with reinvigorating the brand and bolstering its market position through a consumer-centric approach that offered compelling assortments, helpful advice and memorable experiences to be digitally shared with others. Under her leadership, the company revitalized its branding, expanded its digital and omnichannel capabilities and forged strategic partnerships to build meaningful relationships with its customers.
Prior to her role at JOANN Stores, Soltau spent eight years at Shopko, leading the company as President after serving as Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising Officer. She joined Shopko Stores in 2007 and earned various executive positions of increasing responsibility including Senior Vice President and General Merchandise Manager over apparel and accessories. Prior to her tenure at Shopko, Soltau held several senior level positions in merchandising, planning and private brand management at Sears and Kohl’s, after starting her career with Carson Pirie Scott, which was later acquired by Saks Inc.
She was honored with the Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service in 2017, recognizing her efforts to assist communities in need of assistance in the areas of education, health and support for service members and their families. A Girl Scout alumna, Soltau is passionate about fostering innovation and growth among future generations of female leaders. She is also a member of 4-H Luminaries, a distinguished alumni group that helps raise awareness and generate support for life-changing 4 H programs.
Soltau currently serves on the Board of Directors for AutoZone. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Wisconsin-Stout with a Bachelor of Science degree in retail and business.
James (Jim) DePaul joined JCPenney in August 2019 as executive vice president of stores, reporting to Jill Soltau, chief executive officer. DePaul leads all aspects of store operations, environment and design, as well as asset protection, to deliver an engaging and productive customer experience. He is also responsible for improving in-store and omnichannel operations to transform the JCPenney customer experience, grow store traffic, and increase customer engagement and retention.
Prior to joining the Company, DePaul spent more than 20 years at Shopko Stores in positions of increasing responsibility. He most recently served as chief operations officer, where he oversaw all stores, pharmacy, optical, supply chain, e-commerce operations, non-merchandise procurement, store operations, store development, loss prevention and merchandise support. While at Shopko, DePaul delivered a positive, end-to-end customer experience through seamless omni-channel integration and made key improvements to customer service scores, operating expenses, shrink and overall productivity. He also served as chief administrative officer, senior vice president of stores and operations, vice president of store operations, store finance, facilities and construction, and regional director of sales. DePaul began his career in 1995 at Target Corporation, working in merchandising and operations positions before joining Shopko in 1998 as a store manager.
DePaul holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration-accounting from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and a Master of Business Administration in finance from Lakeland College in Wisconsin.
Brynn Evanson is the executive vice president, chief human resources officer at JCPenney, reporting to Jill Soltau, chief executive officer. Evanson is charged with leading all Human Resources activities with a focus on recruiting, retaining and developing the Company’s talent. She also leads the communications, events and philanthropy teams, guiding both internal and external messaging as well as the Company’s philanthropic endeavors.
Evanson brings more than 20 years of experience in human resources within the retail industry. She joined JCPenney in 2009 and was promoted to her current role in 2013.
Before joining the Company, Evanson served nine years at Target Corporation in positions of increasing responsibility, including director of executive compensation and retirement plans. She began her career at Marshall Field’s and worked in the stores, merchandising, finance, store operations and human resources divisions.
Evanson holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and finance from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is a former member of the board of directors for the American Heart Association in Dallas.
Shawn Gensch joined JCPenney in June 2019 as executive vice president, chief customer officer, reporting to Jill Soltau, chief executive officer. Gensch oversees all aspects of the Company’s marketing strategies and initiatives and is responsible for driving aggressive customer-centric strategies to grow traffic, engagement and customer retention. Additionally, he is responsible for revitalizing the Company’s brand, leading marketing initiatives across all channels, shaping the company’s messaging and delivering an outstanding digital experience to JCPenney customers.
Prior to joining the Company, Gensch was chief customer officer at Sprouts Farmers Market, overseeing their brand and category marketing strategy, digital marketing, guest insights, customer relations, advertising, social media, private label brand strategy and public relations. Prior to Sprouts, Gensch co-founded and served as chief executive officer of iAMroyalist, Inc., a consumer driven loyalty platform, and spent 10 years at Target Corporation in positions of increasing responsibility. While at Target, he served as senior vice president of marketing where he led all media strategy, public relations, social media, strategic partnerships, and experiential and lifestyle marketing efforts. He also served as vice president, brand marketing, vice president, financial product design and development and president of Target Bank. Before joining Target Corporation in 2003, Gensch worked in various roles in the structured finance, insurance, banking and related consulting industries, and served as vice president and assistant treasurer of Green Tree Financial Corporation. He began his career at KPMG.
Gensch holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and has served on the board for Anser Innovation since 2014.
Therace Risch is executive vice president, chief information officer and chief digital officer at JCPenney, reporting to Jill Soltau, chief executive officer. Risch is responsible for the overall vision, strategic direction and tactical execution of all information technology systems. Additionally, she is charged with creating a seamless omnichannel experience across stores, e-commerce, marketing and all digital channels.
Most recently, Risch served as an interim member of the office of the CEO, sharing responsibility for the Company’s day-to-day operations until a new CEO was appointed. Before joining the Company, Risch served as executive vice president and chief information officer at COUNTRY Financial, an insurance and investment services provider based in Bloomington, Illinois. She led strategy, planning, security and support of technology capabilities serving over 1 million households and businesses.
Earlier in her career, Risch spent 10 years at Target Corporation in various technology roles of increasing responsibility, including her last position as vice president of technology delivery services, where she was responsible for the end-to-end execution of technology programs for stores, merchandising, supply chain and other business functions.
Risch holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics from Ripon College in Wisconsin, and a mini MBA from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Bill Wafford joined JCPenney in April 2019 as executive vice president, chief financial officer, reporting to Jill Soltau, chief executive officer. As CFO, Wafford is responsible for providing strategic leadership and driving operational excellence in addition to leading all aspects of the Company’s finance and accounting operations. He also leads all Supply Chain operations including fulfillment, logistics and transportation.
Wafford most recently served as executive vice president, chief financial officer for The Vitamin Shoppe, where he oversaw all aspects of the company’s finance strategy and execution including accounting, real estate, international operations, mergers and acquisitions, corporate strategy, advanced analytics, investor relations, procurement and internal audit functions. During his tenure with The Vitamin Shoppe, he played a significant role in reducing debt, decreasing inventory and improving operating income in 2018. He joined The Vitamin Shoppe in 2017 as senior vice president overseeing strategy, finance, international operations and business development.
Prior to The Vitamin Shoppe, Wafford served as a partner in the advisory practice group of KPMG following a five-year career at Walgreens Boots Alliance. While at Walgreens, he served in positions of increasing responsibility and became vice president of international finance, where he was involved in the acquisition of Alliance Boots, which created the world’s largest retail pharmacy, health and daily living destination. He was subsequently appointed to vice president and managing director for the company’s global venture capital portfolio, where he evaluated investment opportunities in digital categories, including online retail and customer loyalty. Before Walgreens, Wafford held multiple finance-related positions with Archstone Consulting, Bank of America and at Target Corporation where he managed the financial planning and analysis for their $8 billion women’s and men’s apparel divisions.
Wafford holds an MBA from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Science in economics from the University of California, Riverside.
Michelle Wlazlo joined JCPenney in February 2019 as executive vice president, chief merchant, reporting to Jill Soltau, chief executive officer. Wlazlo is responsible for leading all the Company’s merchandise offerings, focused on building a balanced assortment of the best private, exclusive and national brands, including operations of the Company’s Merchandising, Sourcing, and Product Development and Design teams.
Wlazlo brings 30 years of merchandising and stores experience from a variety of respected apparel and accessory retailers. Most recently, she served as senior vice president of apparel and accessories merchandising at Target Corporation where she helped lead the company’s strategy and implementation program that included transforming 1,400 stores and launching 15 new private brands.
Before Target, Wlazlo spent 19 years at GAP, Inc., in a variety of roles for Gap, Gap Outlet and Old navy, most recently as senior vice president GAP global merchandising across all brand divisions, including women’s, men’s, kids, baby, body and fit. She began her career at Saks Fifth Avenue as a department manager before assuming roles as store manager and buyer at Bebe Stores, Inc.
Wlazlo holds a fashion merchandising degree from Lowthian College in Minneapolis and completed the Executive Education Program at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business. She currently serves on the board of directors for the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Victor Ejarque joined JCPenney in June 2019 as senior vice president, general merchandise manager for women’s apparel, reporting to Michelle Wlazlo, executive vice president, chief merchant. In this role, Ejarque is responsible for overseeing and developing all of the Company’s women’s apparel merchandising strategies and programs to create a compelling shopping experience for customers. He brings 25 years of broad retail experience in merchandising, product, supply chain and operations.
Prior to joining JCPenney, Ejarque served as vice president and general merchandise manager of global operations at Guess, Inc., where he oversaw the company’s merchandising, buying, planning, allocation, supply chain and logistics. Before Guess, Ejarque managed a portfolio of 10 brands, improved gross margin and increased speed to market while serving as vice president and general merchandise manager of women’s apparel and accessories for Kmart, part of Sears Holdings.
Ejarque also spent 13 years with Stradivarius, the parent company of Zara and an international women’s and men’s clothing fashion brand from Spain. While at Stradivarius he served in several top leadership roles including head of buying, head of commercial department and allocation, and head of sourcing and supply chain for Asia. Ejarque began his career at Polo and Co., where he spent 10 years as a business and production manager.
Ejarque studied history at Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona and received a master’s degree in marketing from Spain’s EADA Business School.
Laurene Gandolfo is the senior vice president, product development and design for Home at JCPenney, reporting to Michelle Wlazlo, executive vice president, chief merchant. In this newly created role, Gandolfo is responsible for re-establishing relevance across the Company’s Home categories, and focus and segment JCPenney brands, including JCPenney Home™, Cooks® and Liz Claiborne®.
Gandolfo is a seasoned leader with 35 years of retail experience in private and domestic brands. Most recently, she served as executive vice president of men’s and kids’ private brands at Macy’s Inc., where she led a cross-channel growth strategy for private brands. Prior to that, Gandolfo served in several top leadership positions at Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, including executive vice president of home private brands, where she managed a portfolio of 13 exclusive brands, several of which she and her teams helped launch. Earlier in her career, she spent 15 years at Bloomingdale’s leading the merchandising strategy across multiple divisions. Gandolfo began her career at Levi Strauss & Co. and also held merchandising and store line positions in ready-to-wear, men’s and intimate apparel.
Gandolfo holds an MBA in marketing from New York University’s Stern School of Business and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.
SVP, Product Development, Design, Trend and Global Product Services – Apparel, Footwear and Handbags
Val Harris is the senior vice president, product development, design, trend and global product services for Apparel, Footwear and Handbags at JCPenney, reporting to Michelle Wlazlo, executive vice president, chief merchant. Harris is responsible for driving the success of the Company’s industry-leading private and exclusive brands, overseeing brand development, trend and design.
Harris joined the Company in 1978 as a sales associate in Chicago, where she discovered her passion for retail and customer service. With over 35 years of retail experience at JCPenney, she has held merchandising positions of increasing responsibility in stores and at the Home Office including vice president, product development services and divisional vice president, product development and design. Most recently, Harris served as vice president, product development, design and trend for Women’s Apparel, Intimates and Accessories where she was responsible for leading strategic brand direction and product design.
Harris holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.
Jennifer Hipskind is the senior vice president of store environment and design at JCPenney, reporting to Mike Robbins, executive vice president, chief stores and supply chain officer. Hipskind is responsible for overseeing store design and planning, construction services, area research, visual merchandising and in-store graphics.
Previously, Hipskind served as group president, senior vice president, regional leader of the Company’s Store South Division. She joined the Company in 1987 as a merchandise trainee in Pleasanton, California. In 2001, she was given her first store leader assignment in Newark, California and soon after that, was asked to run the flagship store in Dallas.
In 2004, Hipskind received her first corporate and multi-unit assignment and became the regional coordination manager for the Company’s West region. Hipskind quickly gained a solid reputation for strong results and subsequently was charged with helping implement the Sephora inside JCPenney brand in 2006 and directing the Company’s new store process initiative in 2008. In 2010, Hipskind became the divisional vice president for Fine Jewelry. Over the next six years, she served as regional leader over the Central region.
Hipskind holds a bachelor’s degree from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco, California.
Truett Horne is the senior vice president, chief transformation officer at JCPenney, reporting to Jill Soltau, chief executive officer. He is responsible for the development and implementation of the Company’s strategic and transformational initiatives.
Horne brings extensive experience in retail and consumer packaged goods, including category management, pricing, procurement and zero-base budgeting. Before joining JCPenney, he held positions of increasing responsibility at McKinsey & Company, where he most recently served as associate principal and was integral in developing tactical strategies to improve business functions in sales strategy, information technology and marketing.
Horne is a proven leader in merger and acquisition diligence and value creation, having led dozens of private equity diligences and portfolio improvement initiatives. Earlier in his career, he served in roles various responsibility at Lazard Freres & Co. LLC, Hovde Financial and Bear Stearns & Co. Inc.
Horne holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics and business administration from Rhodes College and an MBA from Columbia University.
Pam Mortensen is senior vice president, general merchandise manager for the Fine Jewelry division at JCPenney, reporting to Michelle Wlazlo, executive vice president, chief merchant. Mortensen joined the Company in 2009 and was integral in implementing popular customer concepts, such as Modern Bride® and Bijoux Bar to position JCPenney as a destination for style and fashion.
Before joining JCPenney, Mortensen served in leadership roles at Walmart Inc. as vice president and divisional merchandise manager of fine jewelry and watches, and at Service Merchandise as vice president and divisional merchandise manager. During her tenure at Walmart, she was instrumental in developing the retailer’s standards and criteria for responsible jewelry sourcing and led the launch of the Love, Earth jewelry collection, which gave customers the ability to trace the path of their jewelry from mine to market. Mortensen started her jewelry career at Zale Corporation and her retail career at Federated Department Stores.
In 2018, Mortensen was inducted into the National Jeweler’s Retailer Hall of Fame, which recognized her as a jeweler who has made significant contributions to jewelry retailing and has inspired her peers with long-term success in the jewelry industry. In 2015, she was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Women’s Jewelry Association and was also added to the JCK industry magazine’s annual Power List of 50 CEO’s retailers, designers and tastemakers who shape and innovate the jewelry business - a distinction she also received in 2012.
In 2012, Mortensen also was recognized as the Facet of Hope Honoree for Jewelers for Children, an organization founded by the U.S. jewelry industry with the mission of helping children in need. She has served on the Jewelers for Children board of directors for 10 years and became their chairman in 2017. In 2019, Mortensen became a board member for the Women’s Business Council – Southwest (WBCS). The WBCS provides local support for women-owned business growth and processes certification applications within the southwest region.
Mortensen holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Arkansas. In 2012, the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences named her as Outstanding Alumna.
Jerry Murray is the senior vice president of finance operations at JCPenney, reporting to Bill Wafford, executive vice president, chief financial officer. Murray is charged with managing the Company’s financial strategy and overall analysis.
Murray is an experienced leader with a track record of success at some of the world’s largest companies. Previously, he served as senior vice president and chief financial officer at Valassis, a $2.5 billion marketing and advertising firm, where he was instrumental in leading accounting, financial planning and analysis, pricing and sales support functions, as well as providing key strategic support to the CEO.
Before that, Murray spent seven years at Walmart Inc. in various leadership positions. Most recently, he served as the vice president and chief financial officer of the logistics division where he drove accounting and financial planning and analysis, and strategic support to 170 distribution centers and division senior management. Earlier in his career, he served as director of global financial planning and analysis for a division of Honeywell International and worked 11 years at General Motors Corp in several financial areas of the company.
Murray holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and an MBA from The Ohio State University.
Melissa Pint is the senior vice president of information technology (IT) at JCPenney, reporting to Therace Risch, executive vice president, chief information and chief digital officer. Pint is charged with managing and supporting the technology portfolios for Stores, Supply Chain, Customer Care, Merchandising, Marketing, Planning & Allocation, corporate systems and business intelligence and analytics.
Pint joined JCPenney in 2016 as vice president IT, application portfolio management and development, and led technology support for Stores, Supply Chain and corporate IT systems. She also led the successful stabilization and advancement of the Company’s Stores, Supply Chain and Corporate IT systems. Before joining the Company, Pint spent 12 years at Target Corporation, where she served as senior director of application development and helped launch their Bangalore office.
Pint holds a bachelor’s degree in quantitative methods and computer science from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, and an MBA from the University of Minnesota.
Mark Stinde is senior vice president of asset protection at JCPenney, reporting to Mike Robbins, chief stores and supply chain officer. Stinde is responsible for managing enterprise wide asset protection operations, including helping the Company reduce shrink.
Stinde has nearly 25 years of experience in loss prevention and store operations, and is a leading retail expert in asset protection, safety and security. He has a proven track record of significantly reducing shrink levels at leading national retailers. Most recently, he spent eight years at 7-Eleven and served as vice president of asset protection, where he provided support to franchisees and associates in 8,700 stores. Earlier in his career, Stinde held various leadership positions of increasing responsibility in loss prevention, including vice president, asset protection at Circuit City and division vice president, loss prevention at Sears Holdings. He began his career in loss prevention at Toys ‘R’ Us and The Home Depot.
Stinde holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from DePaul University and an MBA from Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business. He also completed the Executive Leadership Program at the Thayer Leader Development Group at West Point.
Angela Swanner is senior vice president, general merchandise manager of Women’s Specialty Apparel, Footwear & Handbags, Fashion Jewelry & Accessories, Sephora inside JCPenney and Salon for JCPenney, reporting to Michelle Wlazlo, executive vice president, chief merchant. Swanner is charged with leading the strategy, growth and branding efforts for all Center Core merchandise.
Swanner previously served in a similar position that did not include responsibility for Fine Jewelry and Footwear. Before that, she served as senior vice president of Sephora inside JCPenney, charged with driving the beauty experience for customers in nearly 650 stores and on jcp.com.
Swanner has more than 25 years of retail experience. She joined the Company in 2003 as a buyer in the Women’s Apparel division and held leadership roles of increasing responsibility in dresses, handbags, hosiery & accessories, special sizes and seasonal. Swanner began her retail career at Sears, where she served as a buyer for eight years.
Swanner holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business economics from the University of Arizona.
Brandy Treadway was named senior vice president, general counsel after serving as interim general counsel at JCPenney, reporting to Jill Soltau, chief executive officer. Treadway is responsible for all facets of the legal function at the Company, including corporate, securities, transactions, litigation, real estate, labor and employment, and regulatory issues. She also oversees the Company’s ethics and compliance group.
Treadway joined JCPenney in 2011 as senior counsel in the securities department, where she spent three years preparing the Company’s public filings and supporting the board of directors. She was promoted to assistant general counsel, legal operations in 2014 and vice president, associate general counsel in 2016. She has provided legal guidance and leadership to nearly every business and support function, while driving important compliance and governance efforts.
Before joining JCPenney, Treadway spent nine years practicing corporate, private equity, capital markets, bankruptcy and mergers and acquisitions law at the Dallas and London offices of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, one of the world’s highest grossing law firms with more than 85 years of legal services.
Treadway holds a bachelor’s degree in foreign affairs and French from the University of Virginia and earned her law degree from Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law in Dallas, Texas.
Jeff Useforge is senior vice president and general merchandise manager for the Men’s and Children’s divisions at JCPenney, reporting to Michelle Wlazlo, executive vice president, chief merchant. Useforge is charged with leading the strategy and growth of the Company’s powerful private and national brands to ensure the assortments promote brand loyalty and excitement among customers.
Previously, Useforge served as the vice president and divisional merchandise manager for Men’s big & tall, activewear and team apparel. Before that, he served as a senior buyer for both big & tall and The Foundry free-standing stores.
With over 30 years of retail experience, Useforge served in various leadership roles in men’s, women’s and children’s apparel at various retail leaders. Prior to rejoining the Company in 2010, he held various leadership roles at Goody’s Family Clothing, Bon-Ton Holdings, Inc. and Kohls, Inc., as well as spending five years at Saks, Inc. in the Proffitt’s and McRae’s division. At Saks, Useforge served as general merchandising manager for men’s and children’s. He began his career at Mercantile Department Stores, Co. as a buyer.
Useforge attended the University of South Alabama and studied engineering.
Steve Whaley joined JCPenney in April 2019 as senior vice president, principal accounting officer and controller, reporting to Bill Wafford, executive vice president, chief financial officer. In this role, Whaley is responsible for leading the Company’s accounting operations and financial reporting functions. He will also lead the JCPenney finance and support services teams in Salt Lake City and Bangalore, India.
Whaley has over 35 years of accounting and audit leadership experience and most recently served as senior vice president and controller, principal accounting officer at Walmart Inc. During his time at Walmart, he developed the global controllership organization and function from both a talent and operational perspective. He was also responsible for financial reporting, SEC compliance, internal controls and SOX compliance. Prior to Walmart, Whaley was with Southwest Airlines for over 16 years, ultimately serving as vice president and controller. Whaley began his accounting career with KPMG in audit services.
Whaley is a certified public accountant and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting from the University of Oklahoma.
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