Tom Mars, chief administrative officer of Wal-Mart stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) will step down from his post and leave the company on March 13, after working with the company for more than a decade. There was, however, no reason revealed from the spokesperson of the company for his departure, and Mr. Mars wasn’t available for the comment.
Mars was a part of the investigation into the bribery allegations related to a Wal-Mart store built near the Mexican pyramid, as per the emails of the company released earlier this year by members of Congress.
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The probe was conducted by Democratic members of two house committees regarding potential violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, after the report of New York Times in April 2012 revealed that bribes were given to win government approval for the opening of a Wall Mart store in Mexico. According to the act, the improper payment to foreign officials to take any kind of business advantage is banned.
In a 2005 email memo to Chief Executive Michael Duke, Mr. Mars wrote, “The attached memorandum summarizes an interview conducted with a former WalMex in-house lawyer. The lawyer asserts in some detail the alleged corruption by various WalMex associates, including senior people. You’ll want to read this. I’m available to discuss next steps. PS: Welcome to Wal-Mart International.”
The company declined to comment on the departure of Mars and the reason behind that departure was unknown. One of the spokesmen of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) Asia, Anthony Rose, confirmed the news of Mars’ departure from the company without revealing the reason.
In November 2011, the world’s largest retailer informed U.S. authorities that it is probing any probable violation of the FCPA. The retailer stated in the regulatory filings that it has incurred expenses of $157 million last year in relation to the probes by the Justice department, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and a number of federal and local government agencies in Mexico. It has said it is cooperating with investigations.
Separately, U.S. shopping center operator Kimco Realty Corp (NYSE:KIM) stated that it has received a subpoena from the SEC, regarding an investigation involving Wal-Mart stores and probable violations of the foreign corrupt practice act.
Mars handled real estate, financial services and labor relations for Wal-Mart’s U.S. division. Prior to working with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT), Mars worked in commercial litigation. He went to law school at the University of Arkansas and worked as an associate of the Rose Law firm from 1986 to 1988, where he worked for Hillary Clinton in the firm’s litigation section.