McAdam leaves Wal-Mart for Darden

ORLANDO: Robert McAdam, Wal-Mart's VP of corporate affairs who served as the spokesman for many of the retailer's most controversial actions, has left the company for a top communications post at Darden Restaurants.

ORLANDO: Robert McAdam, Wal-Mart's VP of corporate affairs who served as the spokesman for many of the retailer's most controversial actions, has left the company for a top communications post at Darden Restaurants.

McAdam will be an SVP of government and community affairs at Darden, which owns prominent chains including Red Lobster and Olive Garden. His responsibilities will include the company's public policy, community affairs, and environmental relations work.

McAdam will be on Darden's executive committee, and will report directly to chairman and CEO Clarence Otis. He replaces Rick Walsh, who recently retired.

Wal-Mart VP of communications Mona Williams said that the company has not yet hired a replacement, but that the position will be filled eventually.

Darden VP of communications Jim DeSimone said that the company recruited McAdam because of his extensive public affairs and communications experience with Wal-Mart, and previously at Fleishman-Hillard and the Tobacco Institute.

"The need to monitor and shape public policy that's important to our company is very important to our plans to grow," DeSimone said.

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