Brent Willis, an important figure in the latest turnaround effort at Kmart Corp., abruptly resigned his position as chief marketing officer after four months at the company.

Mr Willis joined Kmart in December as part of the turnaround team of Charles Conaway, who was recruited from CVS Corp less than a year ago to serve as the retailer's chairman and chief executive.

Only days ago, Mr Willis oversaw the relaunch of the BlueLight Special, the marketing plan that became famous during Kmart's glory years but that the retailer abandoned a decade ago. On Mr Willis's watch, Kmart also entered a marketing partnership in which Disney-branded children's apparel will be sold in Kmart stores. A Kmart spokeswoman said those initiatives will continue.

A former executive at Coca-Cola Co, Mr Willis attributed his departure from Kmart, which is effective May 7, to a desire to spend time with his family, including three young daughters. He said he had no immediate career plans and no current job offers.

"There's nothing more to it, honestly, than family," he said, expressing only positive sentiments toward Kmart. "Kmart gave me a great opportunity. We got to design what Kmart's new future is going to look like."

Kmart's shares slipped 23 cents to trade at $8.98 at 4 p.m. yesterday in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.