David Tovar, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s vice president of public relations, resigned Friday, writing in a batch e-mail, “I have loved every second of every minute I’ve been with the company and I don’t have enough room in this e-mail to give justice to the life-changing experience of working for the world’s largest retailer.”
On Tuesday, it was learned that Tovar’s departure was precipitated by the fact that he falsified his résumé. Wal-Mart found out that Tovar had never finished school at the University of Delaware, but claimed on his résumé to have earned a bachelor’s degree.
Tovar led media relations for financial, legal and crisis management and advised executive management, while developing strategies and initiatives for the company’s merchandising, marketing and walmart.com. He also led efforts to help build and enhance the company’s reputation. He was the company’s biggest cheerleader, filing weekly missives such as one in May, titled “Hail to the Chief.” “What an incredible morning! It’s not every day that you get to host the President of the United States in one of your stores — we are so honored that President Obama chose to spend time with us to highlight the work Wal-Mart is doing in the clean energy space and talk about the importance of sustainability for our nation,” he wrote.
Tovar, a staunch, at times strident, defender of the retail behemoth, was cited for making illegal threats to employees in a November 2013 complaint by the National Labor Relations Board against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for breaking federal labor law by violating workers’ rights. The complaint alleged Wal-Mart illegally fired and disciplined nearly 70 workers, including those who went on strike.
Tovar worked at Wal-Mart for eight years, starting as senior director of media relations and digital communications and spokesman for the company.
He told CNN on Tuesday that the résumé misrepresentation was discovered while he was undergoing an assessment as part of the process of being promoted to senior vice president. Part of the procedure included a background check to verify his education. He said when asked about it, he was 100 percent transparent.
“Simply put, I leave knowing that Wal-Mart is a wonderful company, truly committed to using its size and scale to make the world a better place for its associates and customers,” Tovar said in his farewell e-mail. “I am a better person and a better professional as a result of my time at Wal-Mart 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,” Tovar said.