Wal-Mart has hired Greg Hitt as the new lead spokesman and vice president for corporate communications, a role where he is tasked with being the leader in working with media outlets.
Hitt replaces David Tovar who resigned the position in September 2014 after the company discovered he was three hours shy of his bachelor’s degree. Tovar had noted on his resume that he had earned a degree.
Hitt, hails from Washington, D.C., having spent more than two decades covering political news for Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal before public relations work in 2010. Hitt comes to Wal-Mart after more than three years as a vice president for Hill+Knowlton Strategies. Hitt has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri.
“I am super excited about this opportunity. When I began talking with Dan Bartlett earlier this year about joining his team, it was almost a no-brainer for me. Wal-Mart has a great story to tell, there are some challenges no doubt, but I want to be part of it,” Hitt told The City Wire on Thursday.
Hitt doesn’t have a retail background; however, he has covered politics, Congressional issues and international economics for 25 years. He said business most definitely intersects with politics and economics where he’s spent most of his time.
“I did have some exposure to retail in my role at Hill+Knowlton, but I understand that I have plenty to learn about retail and how this company works. One of the things I want to do is travel with the team dedicated to opening stores and other teams involved in operations projects. This should give me some visibility into the frontline experiences,” Hitt told The City Wire.
He said the one thing he does not want to be is isolated in an ivory tower and out of touch with what’s taking place on the ground.
“Manage a store, no. But meet with store managers and learn from them, yes. That is how I plan to spend the first several months,” Hitt said.
While he plans to office in Bentonville most of the time, Hitt said his wife, an editor for The Washington Post, has close family ties there. That will mean a lot of travel, which he says is fine. Hitt will manage a corporate public relations team that is scattered across the globe.
Brand new to the job, Hitt is being baptized by fire this week at the retailer’s annual shareholder events, which culminate Saturday morning for most of Wal-Mart’s corporate communications team.