JC Penney Hires Southwest Airlines' CIO

By Baselinemag  |  Posted 2006-09-19 Print this article Print

Retailer hires Thomas M. Nealon, previously CIO of Southwest Airlines "on assignment" from EDS, to run I.T. operations and strategy with a pay package worth at least $2.8 million.

Retailer JC Penney has hired Thomas M. Nealon as its executive vice president and chief information officer, effective Oct. 2.

Nealon, 45, will oversee the Plano, Texas-based company's information technology, including the design and ongoing development of systems and infrastructure to support the strategic business objectives. He will report to JC Penney chairman and CEO Mike Ullman and join the company's executive board. Nealon replaces former CIO Steve Raish, who retired from the company in April 2006.

Among Nealon's primary responsibilities at JC Penney will be leading the development of systems for jcp.com, the company's e-commerce site, which the company says generates more than $1 billion in sales per year. The $18.8 billion company operates 1,021 department stores and employs 151,000 people.

Previously, Nealon worked for EDS, where he served "on assignment" as the CIO of Southwest Airlines for the past four years. Prior to that, he was a partner for the Feld Group, an I.T. management consulting firm that was acquired by EDS, and was CIO of Frito-Lay for 15 years.

Nealon will receive a base salary of $500,000 and will also be eligible for an annual cash bonus of up to $500,000 tied to overall company performance and individual performance, according to a Sept. 19 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. His bonus for 2006 will be a minimum of $300,000, the filing says, and he will receive restricted stock worth a total of $2 million.

That pay package of at least $2.8 million would put Nealon in the upper echelons of the highest-paid CIOs among the 1,000 biggest U.S. companies, according to Baseline's 2006 CIO Compensation Survey (see Big Money: What Top-Paid CIOs Earn).

In the press release announcing his appointment, Nealon said: "I look forward to working with the team at JC Penney to establish and execute the corporate I.T. vision in support of the company's growth strategies."


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