Its merger complete and integration on track, PulteGroup has begun to "flatten" the company's structure with the retirement of executive vice president and COO Steven C. Petruska.

CEO Richard J. Dugas Jr. will take on Petruska's duties. Dugas served as Pulte's COO from 2002 to 2003.

"With the Centex merger integration essentially complete, we are electing to flatten PulteGroup's structure," Dugas said in the announcement. "I look forward to working more directly with the talented and experienced field management team we have in place throughout the country."

PulteGroup spokesman Jim Zeumer said the move was the first to date designed to flatten the organization. Petruska, 51, spent 26 years with Pulte, and his retirement will be effective Aug. 14.

"Since joining the company in 1984, I have had an amazing journey with PulteGroup, as we have grown from a regional builder to a national home building company. Given that we are ahead of schedule with many of our merger activities and our key business initiatives are on track, this is the right time for me to retire and move on to the next chapter of my life," Petruska said in the statement.

Petruska joined Pulte Homes as the vice president of finance for the south Texas division. After working in "numerous" other management positions, including area president for the Arizona and Nevada operations, president of the Las Vegas division, and president of the Southwest region, he became COO in 2004.

"It would be hard to overstate the incredible impact Steve has had on the organization during his career at PulteGroup," said Dugas. "Beyond his leadership throughout the merger and integration, Steve has championed a number of strategic changes designed to drive product quality while working to capture greater operating leverage and construction efficiencies."