JCPenney has hired a new CEO months after an abrupt resignation by its former chief executive

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JCPenney has hired a new CEO months after an abrupt resignation by its former chief executive

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Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

JCPenney has been without a CEO since May.

  • JCPenney has hired a new CEO, Jill Soltau.

  • The struggling department store has been without a leader since May, when its former CEO, Marvin Ellison, resigned to take up a new role at the head of Lowe's.
  • In September, JCPenney's CFO, Jeffrey Davis, also announced he would be resigning effective October 1.

JCPenney has a new CEO.

On Tuesday afternoon, JCPenney announced that Jill Soltau, formerly CEO of Joann Stores, will be taking the position.

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Soltau replaces JCPenney's former CEO, Marvin Ellison, who resigned in May to run home-improvement retailer Lowe's. Ellison joined JCPenney in 2014 and became CEO in 2015.

Ellison launched a turnaround effort to bring JCPenney back from the brink of financial disaster. His immediate predecessor, Ron Johnson, tried to make the store more upmarket but alienated core customers in the process, leading to a $1.42 billion operating loss in 2013 and nearly $5 billion of debt.

Ellison had seen some success, but analysts say he jumped ship before the job was finished. In the past few years, sales at JCPenney have stabilized, and Ellison has worked to reduce its debt load. However, the retailer still carries $4.1 billion in long-term debt.

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At the end of September, the department store's CFO, Jeffrey Davis, announced he would be stepping down effective October 1.

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