But the company announced Monday evening it has paid a $4.5 million bonus to CEO Jill Soltau, and bonuses of $1 million each for CFO Bill Wafford, Chief Merchant Michelle Wlazlo and Chief Human Resources Officer Brynn Evanson. JCPenney said the big paydays are designed to keep its top talent on board.
“At JCPenney, we are making tough, prudent decisions to protect the future of our company and navigate an uncertain environment, including taking necessary steps to retain our talented management team,” said a company in a statement.
Under the plan, the executives will have to repay 80% of their bonuses if they resign before January 31, 2021. They will have to repay the other 20% if specified milestone-based performance goals are not achieved.
The compansaid the executives had been making progress turning the company around before the Covid-19 pandemic forced it to close the majority of its stores.
“Maintaining continuity of leadership is and will continue to be critical to the future of our company’s long-term success,” said the company. “Our compensation program is in line with those of other companies in similar situations and is aligned with milestone-based performance goals to continue incentivizing our team to drive results.”
If any of the executives have to repay bonuses, the money will be set aside to pay severance. But there are a number of JCPenney employees who could lose their jobs if their stores close as part of a reorganization. The company had about 90,000 employees as of February 1.
Earlier this week, 16 JCPenney stores out of nearly 850 nationwide reopened. Another 25 openings were announced Wednesday. And it has another 13 stores allowing curb-side pickup, although those locations are not allowing shoppers to go inside the stores.