Wal-Mart Spokesman Resigns Over False Academic Credential

David Tovar, vice president of corporate communications at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) resigned from his position after the retail giant discovered that his academic credential was false.

Wal-Mart conducted leadership assessment

Tovar wrote in his resume that he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Delaware in 1996. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) found that his academic credential was not true, and he never received a degree during an evaluation process for his promotion to senior vice president.

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In an interview with CNBC, Tovar explained that he went through additional leadership assessment as part of the process for his promotion. According to him, he took a battery of tests including question about leadership, drug tests and 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,” said Tovar.

According to him, he studied four years at the University of Delaware and attended the graduation ceremony. He got a job in New York. Several months after the graduation, he learned that he was a few credits short to earning his degree due to a mistake. Tovar said, “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.”

Tovar agreed to leave

Tovar said Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) informed him that he cannot be promoted because of the situation. He responded that he wants the senior position, and agreed to resign. “I am leaving on good terms and Walmart has been very supportive. I am still here a few more weeks,” he said.

In a separate statement, Tovar said, “We all know the first rule of journalism is ‘don’t bury the lead’ so here goes: after eight amazing years, I’ve decided to leave Wal-Mart at the end of the month. I have loved every second of every minute I’ve been with the company, and I don’t have enough room in this e-mail to give justice to the life-changing experience of working for the world’s largest retailer.”

Other executives with false academic credential

Other executives experienced a similar setback after misrepresenting their academic credentials. In 2012, Scott Thompson, the former CEO of Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) stepped down from his position due the controversy regarding his resume. He falsely claimed that he received a Computer Science degree from Stonehill College.

In 2006, RadioShack Corporation (NYSE:RSH) fired its CEO David Edmondson after discovering that he didn’t receive degrees in theology and psychology from Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College. The company found that Edmondson only attended college for two semesters. The college didn’t even offer a psychology degree.