NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. named Dan Bartlett, most recently president and CEO of the U.S. arm of global business advisory firm Hill & Knowlton Strategies, as its new executive vice president of corporate affairs.
Bartlett has also served as a senior counselor to President George W. Bush. The 41-year-old succeeds Leslie Dach, who played an influential role in reinventing the image of the world's largest retailer in the face of mounting attacks by labor groups and other critics during his seven-year tenure. The company said in March that Dach, a former Democratic strategist, was leaving in June.
Bartlett will report to Mike Duke, Wal-Mart's president and CEO, and will serve as a member of the Bentonville, Ark., company's executive council.
"Corporate affairs play a strong role in helping us meet our business objectives at Wal-Mart," said Duke in a statement. "The team also helps us step up to the broader role we can play in meeting some of the biggest social challenges in the world today — issues like fighting hunger, job creation, sustainability, women's economic empowerment and the availability of healthier food."
Bartlett joins Wal-Mart at a time when it is grappling with allegations of bribery in its Mexico operations that surfaced a year ago as well as its treatment of its workers. Wal-Mart is also facing pressure to increase its oversight of factory conditions abroad following a building collapse last month in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,110 workers there. The tragedy, the deadliest incident in the history of the garment industry, came just months after a fire in another garment factory in Bangladesh in November killed 112 workers. Wal-Mart is the second largest buyer of Bangladesh clothing after Swedish fashion retailer H&M.
In a separate announcement, Hill & Knowlton Strategies announced that it has tapped Andy Weitz as president and CEO of its U.S. operations. Weitz is a five-year veteran of Hill & Knowlton Strategies and most recently served as executive vice president and global co-chair of its corporate advisory practice.
Wal-Mart's shares slipped 40 cents to $76.99 in afternoon trading.
Follow Anne D'Innocenzio at http://twitter.com/adinnocenzio