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Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., is one of the few companies with enough global firepower to headhunt the U.S. Navy’s top lawyer. The Bentonville, Arkansas, retail giant nabbed Alberto Mora, 54, the Navy’s outgoing general counsel. Mora reported for duty as vice president and GC of the international division of the retailer’s legal department on January 23. “I can hardly imagine a more important, more interesting challenge than Wal-Mart international,” Mora says. He replaces Maritza Munich, who left the company. Although there are only three lawyers assigned to Wal-Mart’s international law division, Mora anticipates expansion. The company operates in 15 countries at more than 2,000 locations. And lawyers from Wal-Mart’s corporate, real estate, and other divisions collaborate daily with the international division. While at the Pentagon, Mora made waves by drafting a July 2004 memo containing a chronological account of his criticisms of the Bush administration’s rules for prisoner interrogation going back to December 2002. The 22-page memo was obtained by The New Yorker for an article in its February 27 issue. In the memo, Mora listed instances in which he’d warned Pentagon officials that circumventing the Geneva Conventions could lead to prisoner abuse. In recognition of his behind-the-scenes efforts, Mora was awarded a John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in March. It’s no surprise that Mora says his task at Wal-Mart will be to “make sure the company always adheres to the law, anticipates problems, and avoids them before they become problems.” Mora says his first order of business has been “learning the people, learning the company, learning the markets.” He’s already visited Wal-Mart operations in Mexico, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

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