Wal-Mart Stores, the world's largest retailer, is moving its top lobbyist in Washington to its headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, where he will become vice president of corporate affairs.
Lee Culpepper, who was vice president of Wal-Mart's federal government relations office in D.C., will move to Bentonville this summer, according to Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar.
He will fill a position that has been vacant since late last year, when Bob McAdam left the retailer to join Darden Restaurants . Culpepper will oversee Wal-Mart's corporate-reputation advertising and research, and its outreach to key constituent groups, Tovar said.
"Over the next several months, (Culpepper's) going to continue in his current role, and we've begun an active search for his replacement," Tovar said.
Wal-Mart has been working to fend off criticism from Democratic politicians and labor unions, who contend that the company pays poverty-level wages and pushes employees onto government aid programs.
It has also faced fierce Congressional opposition to its bid to own a bank.
"Bringing another Washington lobbyist to Bentonville won't fix Wal-Mart's problems because they're much deeper than politics," said David Nassar, executive director of Wal-Mart Watch, which has been pushing for reforms to benefit Wal-Mart workers.
"...Wal-Mart's struggling because they don't treat their workers with respect, and that's the real key to rehabilitating its public image and reaching the upscale customers it covets."
Tovar declined to comment on the Wal-Mart Watch statement.