Call this the rest of the story: I got a form e-mail the other day from Walmart’s pugnacious flack, David Tovar. It began:
We all know the first rule of journalism is “don’t bury the lead” so here goes: after eight amazing years, I’ve decided to leave Walmart at the end of the month. I have loved every second of every minute I’ve been with the company and I don’t have enough room in this email to give justice to the life-changing experience of working for the world’s largest retailer.
Simply put, I leave knowing that Walmart is a wonderful company, truly committed to using its size and scale to make the world a better place for its associates and customers. I am a better person and a better professional as a result of my time at Walmart and I am eternally grateful for all of the wonderful people I’ve had the opportunity to work with and learn from.
I can’t yet tell you where I’ll be next or what I’ll be doing but I hope to share some news with you soon. I’ll be around for a few more weeks but rest assured that these weekly updates will continue and you’ll be hearing from a number of different people on the team.
I sent a brief note wishing him well, but asked him: “Why are you leaving?” Looked fishy to me.
He didn’t respond. Bloomberg has the rest of the story today:
David Tovar, who announced last week that he was leaving the job as vice president of communications, has previously said he earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Delaware in 1996. While conducting additional due-diligence screening, which is standard for employees who reach a certain level, Wal-Mart discovered he never received the degree, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Tovar, 40, joined Wal-Mart in 2006 after working for the tobacco and snack-food company Altria Group Inc. (MO)
It’s one of those delicious paradoxes. Tovar battled with reporters over accuracy. He, for example, disliked my mention of higher starting pay at competing big box retailers. He wouldn’t accept the fact that IKEA, for example, paid a higher starting pay to entry-level workers. He kept wanting to compare IKEA starting pay with Walmart average pay. Apples and grapefruits.
I was not alone in feeling Tovar’s wrath, if far down his accustomed food chain.
Tovar gained attention this year by criticizing the New York Times on Wal-Mart’s blog. He posted a copy of a “wildly inaccurate” Times editorial by Timothy Egan and marked up the text with red editor’s notes.
“Thanks for sharing your first draft,” Tovar wrote in a faux message to Egan. “Below are a few thoughts to ensure something inaccurate doesn’t get published.”
Searching for a photo, I also noticed this.