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David Searle, Walmart Inc.'s new head of international ethics and compliance, will lead anti-corruption efforts and company initiatives in areas such as health and safety, labor, privacy and responsible sourcing, the retailer said Wednesday in a memo.

Searle starts work Tuesday at Walmart, according to the memo sent to employees in the company's global governance department. The Bentonville retailer operates about 6,000 stores in 26 countries, as well as nine non-U.S. e-commerce websites.

A Walmart spokesman said Searle will report to Daniel Trujillo, who previously filled that post before being promoted Feb. 1 to global chief ethics and compliance officer after the departure of Jay Jorgensen. Trujillo is responsible for ethics and compliance through all of Walmart's divisions and brands.

Trujillo and Jorgensen were hired within a month of each other in 2012, shortly after the start of a federal investigation into allegations of bribery in Walmart's Mexican operations and of a cover-up at company headquarters. They were to be responsible for overhauling Walmart's global compliance program, according to a memo from Rachel Brand, the retailer's chief legal officer and head of global governance.

The New York Times brought the allegations to light with a report published in April 2012. The U.S. Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission began in October 2012 to investigate claims that the retailer violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by bribing Mexican officials to speed the opening of stores there.

Walmart reported the possible violations in Mexico to the two federal agencies in November 2011. Investigators later found possible improper payments in Brazil and India, as well.

Searle is currently chief compliance officer and associate general counsel at the Bristow Group, a Houston industrial aviation services company. His previous experience includes jobs as director of compliance for chemicals and plastics distributor Nexeo Solutions LLC and as audit and investigations counsel for oil-field services company Baker Hughes Inc.

Searle also worked as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Justice Department, where he prosecuted people and organizations charged with fraud, money laundering, extortion, export violations, worksite violations and human trafficking. His duties included reviewing corporate compliance programs to evaluate whether to file criminal charges. He has received several awards from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for prosecutorial excellence.

After earning his law degree at Duke University, Searle worked as a law clerk to Judge Jerry E. Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. Searle holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Stanford University.

Business on 05/23/2019

Print Headline: Walmart taps Texan to lead compliance, ethics efforts abroad

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