J.C. Penney is giving millions of dollars in pay bonuses to top executives as the failing department store chain reportedly is on the edge of bankruptcy.
What’s happening: CEO Jill Soltau received $4.5 million while chief financial officer Bill Wafford, chief merchant officer Michelle Wlazlo and chief human resources officer Brynn Evanson each got $1 million, the company disclosed in a May 10 regulatory filing. The payments are to ensure J.C. Penney can “retain and continue to motivate its named executive officers and other employees through the volatile and uncertain environment affecting the retail industry,” according to the company.
The close to 120-year-old company is one of many retailers that was forced to temporarily close its stores as the Wuhan virus spread across the U.S. That has reportedly put J.C. Penney a step closer to bankruptcy, with the company missing two debt payments in April and May.
“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.
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 curbside pickup, although those locations are not allowing shoppers to go inside the stores.