J.C. Penney store

Turning around J.C. Penney Co. Inc. might be one of the toughest jobs in retail — but Jill Soltau is getting paid big time for her efforts.

The chief executive officer, who joined the company Oct. 15, saw total compensation of $16.7 million last year, according to a regulatory filing from the retailer. Her take included $10 million in stock awards (the full value of which might not be realized), a $6 million bonus and salary of $413,636. The former chief of JoAnn Stores also received $252,169 in relocation benefits.

When she took the top job at Penney’s, director Paul Brown, who led the board’s ceo search, said: “Jill stood out from the start….Not only is she an established ceo and former chief merchant, her depth of experience in product development, marketing, e-commerce and store operations has been an important basis for the turnaround work she spearheaded at prior companies.”

Soltau took over the corner office from Marvin Ellison, who left to head Lowe’s Cos. Inc., and saw total compensation of $5.8 million from Penney’s last year, including $5.2 million in stock awards.

Jill Soltau