Eight things to know about Walmart’s new image guy

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Dan Bartlett, Walmart's new EVP of Corporate Affairs

Walmart announced this week that it has hired former Bush administration official Dan Bartlett to replace Leslie Dach as the company’s top image polisher (officially, EVP of Corporate Affairs).

While some thought Walmart had gone soft by hiring former Democratic operative Dach in 2006, they’ll make no such mistake this time. Here are eight things to get you introduced to the man who will be out there greenwashing and using the Walmart Foundation as a “lever” to help the company achieve its goals.

  1. Bartlett got his start working for Karl Rove’s consulting firm in Texas.
  2. He was quickly picked up by George W. Bush’s Texas gubernatorial campaign in 1993, when he was just 22 years old.
  3. Eventually, Bush wound up in the White House, and so did Bartlett. He started out as deputy assistant to the President and deputy to the counselor to the President in January 2001. By the time Bartlett left in 2007, he had served as White House Communications Director and ultimately as Counselor to the President.
  4. Texas Monthly describes Bartlett’s communications style, which sums up the Bush White House pretty well:

The 52-person communications shop he controlled was famous for its lockdown discipline and airtight message control. Reporters often complained about how stingy it was with information and how stubbornly it clung to the designated message du jour.

  1. After leaving the White House, Bartlett joined PR firm and lobbyist Public Strategies, which later become Hill + Knowlton Strategies US. Before Walmart picked him up, Bartlett was president and CEO of H+K US.
  2. At H+K, Bartlett helped bailed out banks like Goldman Sachs burnish their public images. And Public Strategies once did crisis communications for a natural gas company following an explosion that killed an elderly couple.
  3. H+K are also experienced greenwashers, having helped to keep petrol taxes low on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute and campaigned for deregulation for the American Truckers Association. They list Athabasca Oil Sands Corp as a client too. H+K describes its work to help AOSC keep “a low public profile, enabling AOSC to obtain the necessary regulatory approvals for the $2 billion transaction.”
  4. As expected, the former Bush aide makes political contributions to Republicans. In late 2011, he contributed to the campaign of controversial Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. Abbott is known for threatening to arrest election observers in 2012; telling gun-owning New Yorkers to come to Texas; and, most recently, calling Democrats in Texas a more dangerous threat than North Korea.

Looks like Walmart has found just the man for the job.

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    I have been disappointed and disgusted with walmart’s treatment of it’s employees, it’s callous indifference to the workers overseas and the greed of the Walton family. I have stopped shopping at your store and so have all my family members. This latest move validates my reasoning for ceasing to be a customer. Your image is beyond repair!

  2. Richard L. Hale says:

    I didn’t think it was possible for Wal-Mart to sink any lower, but they just busted throu the basement floor.

  3. Roy Helms says:

    Did I need one more reason not to shop at Walmart?

  4. Nik Nikkel says:

    It’s hard to polish poop.

  5. John says:

    I rather spend a few cents extra on items else where them contribute to wal marts profits.

  6. ju says:

    Can Walmart sink any lower??

  7. Linda Brown says:

    Well, thought I was stuck with Walmart since Kmart closed, but this news changed my mind. I’ll do my shopping out of town where there are real stores that don’t sell cheap crap from China and charge high prices for it. I’ve lost all respect for Walmart, especially since this news just came out. We need a new business to kick Walmart off the scene.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Sam Walton is turning in his grave. I shop there only when I need to. Unfortunately, they are the only place in town for most of my needs.

  9. jill wolferd says:

    Yep, one more reason to continue my little personal protest by boycotting wal-mart…..my real hope is that there will soon be millions of other people out there that realize that the only REAL power we have to protest the MANY things wrong with that stores interaction with us is to personally stop giving them one more dime of our money….one shopper, one consumer, at a time, …….eventually they will get the message of what ethical, humane corp. behavior is, or they will go out of business. I can’t be the only one doing this….there must be a lot of other folks doing the same…and I think we’re starting to add up enough to get their attention……..I have also taught my three kids…..future consumers all, to THINK about where they spend their hard earned money…..wl-mart, poppa johns, chickfillet , ???? and why how the owners of a corp. ACT is as important as what they sell, and for how much…..low prices have a high cost if your talking wal-mart.

  10. Chakra Dancer says:

    I don’t mind folks who “put their money where there mouth is” and boycott products and firms. I do mind, however, those who demonize Walmart yet rationalize their behavior for hating Walmart while patronizing all the other big box stores. Target, Best Buy, Lowe’s, Home Depot all compete for the same workers and talent- including PR. And please don’t post your comment about sympathy for Chinese workers from your iPhone
    .http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/26/business/ieconomy-apples-ipad-and-the-human-costs-for-workers-in-china.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

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