Department store retailer JC Penney Company Inc is losing key information technology executive Thomas Nealon, who is leaving the firm at the beginning of next month to look after a seriously ill family member.

His responsibilities included information technology, corporate strategy, customer insights, digital ventures and its website. These business areas will report directly to Michael Kramer, who is joining the company as chief operating officer on 5 December.

"Tom is one of the truly outstanding people I have met during my short tenure at J C Penney," said CEO Ron Johnson.

"He has added tremendous value to our company by putting in place a state-of-the-art technology infrastructure, which will serve as a strong foundation for our future growth plans. His vision and leadership will be missed."

Nealon joined JC Penney in 2006 as chief information officer and was promoted to group executive vice president in 2010. He drove the retailer's digital strategies, including changes to improve the functionality of jcp.com and introducing innovative mobile applications.