David Tovar: 40 Under 40 2013

VP, Corporate Communications, Walmart
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No one can accuse David Tovar of shying away from a challenge. He has spent his whole career on the frontline of highpressure industries and today drives communications for the world’s largest retailer.

As VP for corporate communications at Walmart, he shapes overall communications for Walmart US and supports and advises the company’s most senior leaders. In this role, he leads a team of 20 responsible for proactive and reactive communications and he has been fundamental in managing high-profile initiatives and the company’s corporate reputation. This has included tackling issues such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation and attacks from labor groups, as well as driving Christmas campaigns, the company’s Price Guarantee, Walmart Layaway, Gas Rollback, and ongoing sustainability efforts.

Tovar spearheaded communications for the Walmart US turnaround plan, its every day low price and every day low cost strategies, and led national media relations for the company’s groundbreaking $4 prescription program. Known for his level-headedness and strategic wit, he has earned the trust of senior executives including US CEO Bill Simon. He has also pioneered the use of metrics to inform business decisions and get the best results, such as implementing a nightly reputation tracking system.

Before joining Walmart, he worked for tobacco company Altria Group finessing complex government affairs and communications strategies, such as managing a $146 billion judgement against Philip Morris USA and the tobacco companies – the largest against a corporation in US history.

"David is not just in the communications business, he’s also in the business of helping Walmart achieve its business goals," says Ellen Ryan Mardiks, vice chairman of GolinHarris, who nominated him.

"He has a profound understanding of the challenges and opportunities that drive Walmart," she adds. "Under his leadership communications had become an even better contributor to the company’s success."

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