by Stephen Garner

J.C. Penney said last week that it has initiated a search for a new chief executive officer. The belligerent retailer’s outgoing CEO Jill Soltau will leave after nearly two years at the helm.

Soltau, who joined the company from JoAnn Stores, replaced Marvin Ellison in October 2018, after he resigned from his role to become president of hardware giant Lowe’s Companies in May that same year.

Before JoAnn Stores, Soltau spent eight years at Shopko, most recently as president after serving as executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. She joined Shopko Stores in 2007 earning various executive positions of increasing responsibility to include 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.

J.C. Penney’s new owners, Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management, said Wednesday that they’re looking for a new leader “who is focused on modern retail, the consumer experience, and the goal of creating a sustainable and enduring JCPenney.”

The Plano, Texas-based retailer filed for bankruptcy in May. It was bought by the two U.S. mall owners in the fall and emerged from bankruptcy in December.

Simon and Brookfield have chosen Simon’s chief investment officer Stanley Shashoua to serve as interim CEO, according to a news release. They have launched an executive search with strategic partner Authentic Brands Group.