Walmart Comms VP to Resign Over Fake Resume

David TobarIn a peculiar story, David Tovar has announced his plans to resign from Walmart after spending more than eight years in various top PR roles at the big box chain. The reason? He was less than honest about his (alleged) status as a college graduate.

Tovar’s name isn’t new to us or our readers: he’s been a popular speaker at industry events like The Holmes Report’s 2013 Global Summit and PRSA’s recent corporate comms conference. He also made headlines by doing things like boycotting The Huffington Post over its “unfair coverage” of his employer, “fact-checking” an unflattering New York Times op-ed, and admitting that the Waltons sometimes have trouble keeping their shelves stocked.

In other words, he’s bolder than your average corporate communications executive — especially when it comes to massaging the truth about his background.

He tried to explain things to CNBC today.

The official explanation: Tovar was about to be promoted from VP to SVP, and the routine review that accompanied that promotion revealed the gap in his resume.

“As part of that process I was going through additional leadership assessment, including a battery of tests including questions about leadership, drug tests, background checks. In the background check my education was flagged—it was done by a third party company. They asked me about it, and I was 100 percent transparent.”

The issue: he never actually finished his stint at the University of Delaware. Several months after walking in the school’s 1996 graduation ceremony, he allegedly “learned he was a few credits short” of earning his Bachelor of Arts degree.

Walmart essentially refused to promote him after learning this fact, and he tells CNBC that he resigned rather than staying in the VP position indefinitely. He added, “I am leaving on good terms and Walmart has been very supportive. I am still here a few more weeks.”

Does that explanation sound like spin to you?

On first read, it’s like a sad bureaucratic mix-up prevented Tovar from accepting the job he wanted — a job he had earned. Read his quote, though:

“I got a job and never looked back. I really didn’t think an art degree would matter in communications, which was the field I went into.”

Note that this statement doesn’t address the fact that he kept the graduation on his resume, essentially lying about his background for nearly 20 years. Also: it’s true that an arts degree might not relate directly to communications, but the earning of said degree certainly does.

Oh, and how many of our readers earned a degree in the arts rather than a more relevant (read: legitimate) Bachelor of Business Administration?

Thought so.