Leadership

Executive Leadership

Jill Soltau

Chief Executive Officer

Jill Soltau

Jill Soltau

Chief Executive Officer

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.

Jim DePaul

Jim DePaul

EVP, Stores

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

EVP, Chief Human Resources Officer

Brynn Evanson

Brynn Evanson

EVP, Chief Human Resources Officer

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

EVP, Chief Customer Officer

Shawn Gensch

Shawn Gensch

EVP, Chief Customer Officer

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

EVP, Chief Information Officer and Chief Digital Officer

Therace Risch

Therace Risch

EVP, Chief Information Officer and Chief Digital Officer

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

EVP, Chief Financial Officer

Bill Wafford

Bill Wafford

EVP, Chief Financial Officer

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

EVP, Chief Merchant

Michelle Wlazlo

Michelle Wlazlo

EVP, Chief Merchant

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.

Laurene Gandolfo

SVP, Home Product Design & Development

Laurene Gandolfo

SVP, Home Product Design & Development

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

SVP, Product Development & Design

Val Harris

SVP, Product Development & Design

Val Harris is senior vice president of product development and design at JCPenney. 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.

Jennifer Hipskind

SVP, Store Environment & Design

Jennifer Hipskind

SVP, Store Environment & Design

Jennifer Hipskind is senior vice president of store environment and design at JCPenney. 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.

Truett Horne

SVP, Chief Transformation Officer

Truett Horne

SVP, Chief Transformation Officer

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 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, Horne served in roles of increasing responsibility at Lazard Freres & Co. LLC, Hovde Financial and Bear Stearns & Co. Inc.

Horne holds a Masters of Business Administration from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in economics & business administration from Rhodes College.

Victor Ejarque Lopez

SVP and GMM, Women’s Apparel

Victor Ejarque Lopez

SVP and GMM, Women’s Apparel

Ejarque Lopez joins JCPenney from Guess, Inc., where he served as vice president and general merchandise manager of global operations, overseeing the company’s merchandising, buying, planning, allocation, supply chain and logistics. He worked globally to significantly reduce choice counts, implement markdown efficiencies, improve store replenishment, and meaningfully reduce sourcing production time.

Prior to Guess, Ejarque Lopez was vice president and general merchandise manager of women’s apparel and accessories for Kmart, part of Sears Holdings. He managed a portfolio of 10 brands, improved gross margin significantly and increased speed to market while defining the product and merchandising strategy.

Ejarque Lopez also spent 13 years with Stradivarius, an international women’s and men’s clothing fashion brand from Spain with over 1,000 shops in 60 countries. Stradivarius is owned by Inditex, the largest fashion group in the world, and also the parent company of Zara. 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.

Pam Mortensen

SVP, Merchandising

Pam Mortensen

SVP, Merchandising

Pam Mortensen is senior vice president 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.

Melissa Pint

SVP, Technology

Melissa Pint

SVP, Technology

Melissa Pint is senior vice president of Information Technology (IT) for JCPenney. 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 & Analytics.  Pint joined JCPenney in 2016 as vice president of IT Application Portfolio Management and Development and led Store, Corporate systems and Supply Chain systems. She also has led the successful stabilization and advancement of our stores technology solutions, the holistic management of our corporate technology solutions and initiated solutions for Supply Chain.  Before joining the Company, Pint served as senior director of Application Development at Target Corporation, and completed an assignment in Bangalore to launch their office.

Stacey Shively

SVP, General Merchandise Manager

Stacey Shively

SVP, General Merchandise Manager

Shively comes to JCPenney from Bluestem Brands where she most recently served as senior vice president of merchandising, overseeing a broad selection of name-brand and private label general merchandise for a portfolio of national multi-channel retail brands, including Gettington and Fingerhut. While there, Shively is credited with enhancing revenue and sales, optimizing assortments and vendors, as well as implementing new pricing strategies and cost efficiencies, which drove gross margin improvement. Shively joined Bluestem Brands as vice president of merchandising for home spearheading all new merchandising processes and developing a profitable brand suite, which consisted of eight new proprietary brands.

Prior to Bluestem Brands, Shively was vice president of merchandising for Deal$, a chain of discount variety stores owned and later re-branded by Dollar Tree. She began her retail career at Target Corporation where she spent 17 years assuming various positions of increasing responsibility within merchandising, negotiations, inventory and planning, stores and across business lines including home, men’s, women’s and infants. Stacey received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in interior design from Design Institute of San Diego.

Mark Stinde

SVP, Asset Protection

Mark Stinde

SVP, Asset Protection

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.

Brandy Treadway

SVP, General Counsel

Brandy Treadway

SVP, General Counsel

Brandy Treadway is senior vice president, general counsel at JCPenney. 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.

Jeff Useforge

SVP and GMM, Men’s and Children’s

Jeff Useforge

SVP and GMM, Men’s and Children’s

Jeff Useforge is senior vice president and general merchandise manager for the Men’s and Children’s divisions at JCPenney. He is charged with leading the strategy and growth of our 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. In 1986, he began his career with Mercantile Department Stores, Co. then spent five years with Saks, Inc. in the Proffitt’s and McRae’s division, where he eventually served as general merchandising manager for Men’s and Children’s. Additionally, he worked for Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. and Kohl’s.

Useforge attended the University of South Alabama and studied Engineering.

Steve Whaley

SVP, Principal Accounting Officer & Controller

Steve Whaley

SVP, Principal Accounting Officer & Controller

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.