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Wal-Mart Promotes Karen Roberts to General Counsel
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced Thursday its promotion of Karen Roberts to executive vice president and general counsel. Starting on February 1, 2013, she will report to Jeff Gearhart, who is vacating the GC chair to take on a new role as executive vice president and corporate secretary of Wal-Mart Stores.
Roberts has been with the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company since 1995 and currently serves as executive vice president and president at Walmart Realty for Walmart U.S. She has held a number of in-house roles at the retailer during her 17-year tenure, including senior vice president and chief compliance officer for the domestic division, and VP and general counsel for U.S. real estate and construction.
The new GC can expect to have a very busy year: her appointment comes just after a New York Times investigation revealed more details of a widespread culture of alleged bribes at Wal-Mart de Mexico. And even before this latest report, the global retailing giant had been reorganizing its in-house team to better focus on compliance issues and deal with its expanding probe into the allegations of bribery.
In a statement from Wal-Mart, outgoing GC Gearhart said of Roberts, She is an extremely talented professional whose integrity, breadth of experience, and knowledge of Walmart make her uniquely qualified for this important role. Karens legal background and previous responsibilities directing our U.S. compliance and real estate functions provide an important perspective for overseeing the complex legal issues we deal with every day in our business.
Gearhart will continue to oversee the companys legal function in his new role, and will take on added responsibilities working with Wal-Marts compliance, ethics, and investigations teams.