J.C. Penney Co.said Chief Financial Officer Michael Dastugue will leave this week, the latest management shake-up as the company undergoes a vast operational overhaul.
Dastugue, who spent 15 months in his post, will be replaced temporarily by Chief Operating Officer Michael Kramer while a search is conducted.
Dastugue's departure was expected amid all of the upper-level executives who have departed since Ron Johnson became chief executive in November. Johnson, who formerly ran Apple Inc.'s retail stores, is aiming to mold the stodgy department store into a place of excitement and innovation by turning Penney's floorplan into an array of shops-within-shops and pretty much cutting out promotional selling.
As he has moved forward, Johnson has been populating Penney's upper ranks with former colleagues. Kramer had spent time as chief financial officer of Apple's retail unit, along with serving for three years as president and chief financial officer of Kellwood Co. Other Apple alumunis who have joined Penney include Chief Talent Officer Daniel Walker and Chief Technology Officer Kristen Blum. President Michael Francis came from another of Johnson's prior employers, Target Corp., where he was marketing chief.
News of Dastugue's departure came a week after Penney said it was letting go 600 employees at its Plano, Texas, headquarters and another 300 as it closed a call center in Pittsburgh. Johnson said at the time Penney will operate more like "a start-up," cutting layers of management and creating more accountability.
"We thank Michael for his many years of service," Johnson said in a statement. "Over his 20-year career, Michael served in a variety of finance roles of increasing responsibility, culminating with his appointment as chief financial officer."
Dastugue took over as the financial chief in January 2011 and has worked for the company since 1991. He previously worked as senior vice president of finance with responsibility for the financial strategies of all Penney business units. Before then, he was the company's treasurer, and has also served as director of property development. He joined J.C. Penney from Arthur Andersen, where he was a senior accountant.
J.C. Penney plans to reduce annual costs by $900 million by the end of 2013, including $200 million in savings from corporate headquarters, $400 million in store operations and $300 million in advertising. The retailer has been in heated competition with rivals such as Macy's Inc. and Kohl's Corp.
In February, J.C. Penney said it swung to a loss in its fiscal fourth quarter, as the retailer shouldered heavy costs tied to its revamped pricing strategy.
Shares were recently up 3% at $34.19. The stock is down 2.7% so far in 2012.
--Ben Fox Rubin contributed to this article.