Apple's (AAPL) retail division has taken another hit with the resignation of a top executive once thought to be a candidate to head the unit.

First reported by tech site AllThingsD, Apple confirmed that Jerry McDougal, vice president of retail, had resigned this month. AllThingsD said sources had said McDougal left because he "wanted to spend more time with his family."

The retail division, which oversees Apple's stores, has been a pillar of the company's phenomenal success over the last decade. However, the architect of that retail strategy, Ron Johnson, left Apple last year to become chief executive of J.C. Penney.

Johnson was replaced as senior vice president of retail by John Browett of Dixons. But Browett was fired nine months later.

McDougal was considered a candidate to step into the top retail slot, so his resignation comes as a bit of a surprise.

An Apple spokeswoman said McDougal will be replaced by Jim Bean, former Apple vice president of finance.

"Retail has an incredibly strong network of leaders at the store and regional level, and they will continue the excellent work they've done over the past decade to revolutionize retailing with unique, innovative services and a focus on the customer that is second to none," Apple spokeswoman Amy Bessette said in a statement. "Jim Bean is moving to Retail to help support our teams. Jim has been at Apple for 15 years and is a great leader who understands our culture and focus on customer service."


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The top retail job remains open. Apple did not offer a timetable for filling that job.