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.
Brynn Evanson became JCPenney’s executive vice president, chief human resources officer in 2013, reporting to Jill Soltau, chief executive officer. She oversees all human resources activities with a focus on recruiting, retaining and developing the company’s talent. Evanson brings 23 years of experience to her role, having held human resources positions at a variety of retailers.
Evanson initially joined JCPenney in 2009 as director of compensation. In 2010, she became vice president of compensation, benefits and talent operations, charged with developing the company’s healthcare and pension strategies in addition to the company’s compensation programs.
Prior to joining JCPenney, Evanson worked at Target Corporation in multiple positions of increasing responsibility, ultimately reaching director of executive compensation and retirement plans. She began her career at Marshall Field’s where she worked in a variety of roles across stores, merchandising, finance and human resources.
Evanson holds a Bachelor degree in marketing and finance from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is a 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, reporting to Jill Soltau, chief executive officer. She is responsible for the overall vision, strategic direction and tactical execution of all information technology systems. Additionally, Risch is focused on creating a seamless omnichannel experience across stores, jcp.com, marketing and all digital channels.
Prior to 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, Ill. In her role, she was responsible for all aspects of strategy, planning, security and support of technology capabilities serving over one million households and businesses. Previously, she spent 10 years at Target Corporation in a variety of 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, Minn.
Mike Robbins is the executive vice president, chief stores and supply chain officer at JCPenney, reporting to Jill Soltau, chief executive officer. He is responsible for the broader focus on the customer experience, including operations of all JCPenney stores, supply chain and sourcing operations.
Prior to joining JCPenney, Robbins served as senior vice president of global supply chain for Target Corporation, where he led all distribution centers, international and domestic transportation and global trade services. During his 14 years at Target, he worked in roles of increasing responsibility, including senior vice president of distribution operations, vice president of pharmacy and regional vice president of west coast distribution. Earlier in his career, he worked in a variety of positions at AutoZone, Inc. and The Procter and Gamble Company.
Robbins holds a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Christian Brothers College. He serves on the board of directors for the American Chesterton Society.
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.
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 a Masters of Business Administration degree from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Science in economics from the University of California at Riverside.
Michelle Wlazlo joined JCPenney in February 2019 as executive vice president, chief merchant, reporting to Jill Soltau, chief executive officer. In this role, 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. Wlazlo brings 30 years of merchandising and stores experience to JCPenney 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 of a robust merchandising program that included transforming the presentation of 1,400 stores and launching 15 new private brands. Prior to Target, Wlazlo spent 19 years at GAP, Inc. in a variety of roles, most recently as senior vice president GAP global merchandising across all brand divisions, including women’s, men’s, kids, baby, body and fit. Over the course of nearly two decades, she held multiple merchandising roles of increasing responsibility for Gap, Gap Outlet and Old Navy. She began her career at Saks Fifth Avenue as a department manager before assuming store leadership and buying roles at Bebe Stores, Inc.
Wlazlo holds a fashion merchandising degree from Lowthian College in Minneapolis and studied in the executive education program from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business. She currently serves as a board member for the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Stephen Budd is senior vice president of global brand development, reporting to Mike Robbins, executive vice president, chief stores and supply chain officer. Budd is responsible for developing and executing a new global brands strategy to identify additional revenue streams across potential channels of both domestic and international distribution. He also oversees opportunities to deliver incremental growth to the Company’s top and bottom line, including licensing, wholesaling, white labeling, sourcing, production and supply chain services, and standalone physical and online retail. Budd is an experienced leader and has spent many years working in the apparel and fashion industry serving most recent as president of the luxury division at G-III Apparel Group. Prior to G-III, he worked at several retail/wholesalers including Elie Tahari, BCBG Max Azria and Robinson’s Department Stores. Budd holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Communications from California State University.
Laurene Gandolfo joined JCPenney in April 2019 as senior vice president of home product design and development, 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 and most recently served as executive vice president of men’s and kids’ private brands at Macy’s. Prior to that, she was executive vice president of home private brands where she ran a portfolio of 13 exclusive brands for Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, several of which she and her teams helped launch. 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 a Masters of Business Administration in Marketing from New York University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.
Val Harris is senior vice president of product development and design at JCPenney, reporting to Mike Robbins, executive vice president, chief stores and supply chain officer. She 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 merchandise positions of increasing responsibility in stores and at the Home Office including vice president of product development services and divisional vice president of product development and design. Harris holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.
Jennifer Hipskind is 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 store design and planning, construction services, area research, visual merchandising and in-store graphics. Hipskind joined JCPenney in 1987 as a merchandise trainee and has held positions of increasing responsibility, including general manager of the flagship store in Dallas, regional coordination manager, divisional vice president of fine jewelry and regional vice president. While working at JCPenney, she has gained a valuable reputation for delivering strong results, directing the Company’s new store process initiative in 2008 and implementing the Sephora inside JCPenney partnership in 2006. Prior to her current role, Hipskind served as group president of the southern stores division. Hipskind holds a bachelor’s degree from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in California.
Truett Horne joined JCPenney in January 2019 as senior vice president and chief transformation officer, reporting to Jill Soltau, chief executive officer. In this role, he is responsible for the development and implementation of the Company’s strategic and transformational initiatives. Prior to joining JCPenney, Horne served as associate principal at McKinsey & Company, where he was integral in developing tactical strategies to improve business functions in sales strategy, information technology and marketing. Additionally, he brings extensive experience within retail and consumer packaged goods, including category management, pricing, procurement and zero-based budgeting. Horne holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Business Administration from Rhodes College and an MBA from Columbia University.
Victor Ejarque Lopez joined JCPenney in June 2019 as senior vice president, general merchandise manager for women’s apparel, reporting to Michelle Wlazlo, chief merchandising officer. In this role, Ejarque Lopez 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 Lopez 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 Lopez 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 Lopez 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 Lopez began his career at Polo and Co., where he spent 10 years as a business and production manager.
Ejarque Lopez studied history at Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona and received a master’s degree in marketing from Spain’s EADA Business School.
Jerry Murray joined JCPenney as senior vice president of finance in January 2016, and reports to Bill Wafford, chief financial officer. In his current role, he is responsible for all financial operations of the Company, including the oversight of controllers, internal audit, procurement, tax services, investor relations and more. Murray also oversees the Company’s financial strategy and overall analysis of financial information. Murray is an experienced and talented leader with a track record of success at some of the world’s largest companies. He previously served as senior vice president and chief financial officer at Valassis, a $2.5 billion marketing and advertising firm. While working at Valassis, Murray was instrumental in leading accounting, financial planning and analysis, pricing and sales support functions, as well as providing key strategic support to the CEO. Prior to that role, Murray spent seven years at Wal-Mart, advancing through leadership positions, including vice president and chief financial officer of the logistics division. Earlier in his career, he served as director of global financial planning and analysis for a division of Honeywell International and worked 11 years in roles of increasing responsibility at General Motors Corp. Murray holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and an MBA from Ohio State University.
Pam Mortensen is senior vice president and general merchandise manager of jewelry, reporting to Angela Swanner, senior vice president and head of merchandising. Mortensen oversees fine jewelry, watches and fashion accessories, and has been integral in implementing popular customer concepts, such as Modern Bride and Bijoux Bar that position JCPenney as a destination for style and fashion. Prior to her role at JCPenney, Mortensen served as vice president of fine jewelry and watches at Walmart, where she was instrumental in developing the retailer’s standards and criteria for responsible jewelry sourcing. Mortensen started her jewelry career at Zale Corporation and her retail career at Federated Department Stores. 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 Outstanding Alumna.
In 2018, Mortensen was inducted into the National Jeweler’s Retailer Hall of Fame, which recognized her for making significant contributions to jewelry retailing and inspiring her peers with long-term success in the jewelry industry. In 2015, Mortensen 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. She also was recognized as the Facet of Hope Honoree for the Jewelers for Children organization in 2012.
Melissa Pint is senior vice president of information technology for JCPenney, reporting to Therace Risch, executive vice president, chief information officer and chief digital officer. She is responsible for 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 of IT application portfolio management, leading and managing the development of store, corporate and supply chain systems. She also led the successful advancement of JCPenney store, corporate and supply chain technology solutions. Prior to joining the Company, Pint served as senior director of application development at Target Corporation, and completed an assignment in Bangalore to launch their office. Pint holds an MBA from the University of Minnesota and received a bachelor’s degree in Quantitative Methods and Computer Science.
Mark Stinde joined JCPenney in February 2019 as senior vice president of asset protection, reporting to Mike Robbins, executive vice president, chief stores and supply chain officer. In this role, Stinde is responsible for managing enterprise-wide asset protection operations, including helping the Company reduce shrink. Stinde brings approximately 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. Stinde joins JCPenney from 7-Eleven where he most recently served as vice president of asset protection. He has held various leadership positions of increasing responsibility at Toys ‘R’ Us, The Home Depot, Sears, and Circuit City. Stinde holds a Masters of Business Administration from Southern Methodist University and studied in the executive leadership program at the Thayer Leader Development Group at West Point.
Angela Swanner is senior vice president and general merchandise manager of beauty, intimate apparel, accessories, fine jewelry and footwear, reporting to Michelle Wlazlo, executive vice president and chief merchant. Prior to her current role, Swanner served as senior vice president and general merchandise manager of Sephora inside JCPenney. Swanner has 25 years in retail with experience in stores, planning & allocation and merchandising. She joined JCPenney in 2003 as a buyer in women’s apparel and held roles of increasing responsibility to include divisional vice president and divisional merchandise manager of dresses, handbags, hosiery and accessories, special sizes and seasonal businesses. Swanner holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Economics from the University of Arizona.
Brandy Treadway is senior vice president, general counsel at JCPenney, reporting to Jill Soltau, chief executive officer. Treadway oversees all facets of the Company’s legal function, including corporate securities, transactions, litigation, tax, real estate, labor and employment, regulatory issues and the ethics and compliance group. Brandy joined JCPenney in 2011 as senior counsel in the securities department, and was promoted to assistant general counsel in 2014 and vice president, associate general counsel in 2016. She has provided legal guidance and leadership to nearly every business and support function in the Company, while driving important compliance and governance efforts. Before joining JCPenney, Brandy spent nine years with the Dallas and London offices of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP. Treadway earned her law degree at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and bachelor’s degree in Foreign Affairs and French.
Jeff Useforge is senior vice president and general merchandise manager of men’s and children’s, reporting to Michelle Wlazlo, executive vice president and chief merchant. Useforge is responsible for the Company’s collection of private brands such as The Original Arizona Jean Co.®, St. John’s Bay®, Stafford®, JF J. Ferrar®, The Foundry Big & Tall Supply Co.™ and Okie Dokie®, along with national brands, including Nike®, Levi’s® and Carter’s®. He previously served as vice president of merchandising leading the buying teams in young men’s, big and tall, activewear and team apparel. He has over 30 years of retail experience and has held roles in men’s, women’s and children’s at Saks, Inc., Bon-Ton and Kohl’s, including serving as GMM for men’s and children’s in the Proffitt’s and McRae’s division of Saks. Useforge attended the University of South Alabama and studied Engineering.
Kirk Waidelich is senior vice president of sales, promotions and marketing, reporting to Shawn Gensch, chief customer officer. Waidelich is responsible for leading CRM analytics, sales promotions and the Company’s Loyalty program. His main focus is to drive traffic to stores and jcp.com by utilizing consumer insights to create a personal connection with customers. Waidelich is a 31-year veteran of the Company, who brings a wealth of customer, marketing and retail knowledge to this important role. He most recently served as vice president of marketing strategy, where he was responsible for restoring promotions and aligning marketing strategy with the Company’s strategic growth initiatives. Waidelich holds a Bachelor's degree from Davenport University.
John Welling joined JCPenney in February 2019 as senior vice president of planning and allocation, reporting to Therace Risch, chief information officer and chief digital officer. In this role, Welling is responsible for overseeing pricing and markdown optimization strategies, ensuring product availability and limiting inventory exposure. Welling brings over 25 years of experience in retail and consulting, most recently serving as senior vice president of merchandise operations for The Michaels Companies where he led planning, pricing, inventory management and merchandise finance. Prior to The Michaels Companies, he spent over a decade at Walmart serving in executive positions of increasing responsibility, and was a partner at Accenture for their North American retail practice. Welling holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University and attended the executive education program from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. He currently serves on the engineering advisory board at Bradley University.
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, Utah, and Bangalore, India. Whaley brings over 35 years of accounting and audit leadership experience and most recently served as senior vice president and controller, principal accounting officer at Walmart. During his time at Walmart, he developed the global controllership organization and function from both a talent and operational perspective and was responsible for financial reporting, SEC compliance, internal controls and SOX compliance. Prior to Walmart, he was with Southwest Airlines for over 16 years, ultimately serving as vice president and controller. Whaley began his accounting career with KPMG. 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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