Wal-Mart's Dach: 'Ad Age' Wrong

Slams Report of Castro-Wright Job Change

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In a letter to Advertising Age, Leslie Dach, Wal-Mart's exec VP-corporate affairs and government relations, slammed a recent Ad Age report that included, among other details, speculation that the company's U.S. stores division CEO, Eduardo Castro-Wright, was going to move to an international position.

Mr. Dach's letter was also published on Wal-Mart's website. The full text of his letter appears below along with a short editor's response.

Dear Mr. Bloom,

I am writing to express our concern about your January 30, 2007 story "Wal-Mart Overhauls Senior Management -- Castro-Wright Expected to be Replaced as CEO of U.S. Stores Division." Based on our recent discussion with your editorial staff, it is clear that Ad Age chose to publish a story reporting unreliable rumors by unnamed sources who by their own admission were speculating about management changes at Wal-Mart. While Ad Age cited "people close to the company," this does not excuse your publication from using unsubstantiated information to perpetuate a rumor. And in its haste to publish this story, Ad Age compounded its error by publishing a photo, captioned "Eduardo Castro-Wright" that not only is not Mr. Castro-Wright, but doesn't even resemble him.

Several news organizations and even financial analysts relied on the credibility of your publication and repeated flatly as incorrect rumor. The next day a number of financial analysts reported that the rumor you published was not true. We promptly informed you later that day, when Mr. Castro-Wright publicly denied the claims in your story. Yet even at this stage, Ad Age stood by its faulty report, splitting hairs and refusing to admit that it was wrong.

Let me state on behalf of Wal-Mart -- one more time -- that the replacement of Eduardo Castro-Wright as head of our U.S. Wal-Mart division has not been considered or discussed in any way. To the contrary, our CEO, Lee Scott, has made clear on numerous occasions that our company will continue to support and encourage Mr. Castro-Wright as he continues his work.

Please know that we feel your actions have not lived up to commonly accepted journalistic standards and that our ongoing professional relationship should be considered severely strained.


Leslie Dach
Executive Vice President
Corporate Affairs & Government Relations

Editor's Note: Wal-Mart was given ample opportunity to comment on -- and refute -- this story before it was posted and chose not to do so until after the fact. Ad Age stands by its story as accurate at the time of publication. We deeply regret that we mistook an image on Wal-Mart's website, which appeared above Mr. Castro-Wright's biography, for his picture. Such an error is obviously inexcusable.
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