Wal-Mart Exec Leslie Dach Announces Exit

by Kim Souza (ksouza@talkbusiness.net) 7 views 

Leslie Dach, executive vice president of Corporate Affairs for Walmart, is leaving the big box giant in June. He is the second top ranking officer from within Wal-Mart’s inner core leadership to announce a departure in the past two weeks.

Walmart U.S. CEO Bill Simon announced Feb. 27 that Tom Mars, executive vice president and chief administrative officer, will exit the company March 13. Mars has been with Wal-Mart for 11 years and served as general counsel during the period under scrutiny for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

The announcement that Dach is leaving was made internally via an email from Wal-Mart Stores CEO Mike Duke on Friday morning (Mar. 8). The memo states that Dach, who resides in Washington, D.C., still has much to accomplish in the next two months ahead of his exit.

Duke states in the memo: “As some of you may know, Leslie has been commuting between Bentonville and his home in Washington D.C. nearly every week during this time. As he said when he first approached me several months ago, ‘There is no perfect time to end a journey like this one but there is a right time – and with so many good things happening and so much momentum for them to continue, this feels like that time.'”

Duke notes that Dach has played a pivotal role in helping Wal-Mart understand the broader role it can play in meeting the major challenges facing society today, and social goals are now an integral part of how we run the business.

“He has challenged us to think big and, under his leadership, we have broken new ground in areas like sustainability, women’s economic empowerment and hunger and nutrition. He has built a strong team who will continue to help us use our scale and unique capabilities to make a big difference in the world. Leslie has also helped Walmart lead the way for other companies to step up and determine how they can make their own impact.

“Even beyond June, I’ve asked Leslie to stay engaged with us and provide counsel across a number of areas,” the memo states.

Duke said Dach’s replacement search will begin immediately.

Dach joined Wal-Mart in 2006 serving in government relations for Wal-Mart China as well as being responsible for public policy, reputation management, corporate communications, philanthropy, government relations, and the company’s social responsibility and sustainability initiatives.

Then Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott reached out to Dach in 2006 for his leadership in reputation management as well as facilitating the company’s sustainability initiative which Scott championed.

Wal-Mart’s reputation took a beating last year with the news the retailer was under investigation for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act in Mexico, with further probes in China and India. However, company shares (NYSE: WMT) have proven resilient. The share price hit a new high of $77.15 in mid-October. During the past 52 weeks, the intraday share price has ranged between a $77.60 high to a $57.18 low.

Before joining Wal-Mart, Dach was vice chairman of Edelman, a major global communications firm, where he led the Washington, D.C., office, the company’s research, advertising and corporate social responsibility consulting divisions and its global public affairs, crisis, technology and health care practices.

“Dach has been active as a strategist in Democratic politics and worked in senior positions in a number of presidential campaigns. He served the Clinton administration in a variety of project capacities,” notes the Dach bio on the Wal-Mart website. “He has also served on the government relations staffs of the National Audubon Society and Environmental Defense Fund, and as special assistant to the chairman of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee.”

Dach earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Yale University and a master’s in public administration from Harvard University. Dach also serves on the board of directors of the World Resources Institute.