We all know that to be successful in public relations, we need to work hard and earn
a degree — that is, unless we want to work for the world’s largest retail company.
On Sept. 16 David Tovar, the vice president of communications for Wal-Mart,
announced his resignation due to a falsehood in his corporate biography.
Tovar, who joined Wal-Mart in 2006, falsely claimed to have earned a Bachelor of
Arts degree from the University of Delaware in 1996. The company was evaluating
Tovar for a promotion, which prompted background screening that discovered
the fabrication. Tovar had attended the University of Delaware, but he had never
completed a degree.
“I was an art major going into a communications field,” Tovar said to the New York
Post. “I didn’t think a degree was necessary to pursuing my career.”
This is not the only instance of corporate executives dishonestly boosting their
credentials. Yahoo Inc. CEO Scott Thompson fraudulently claimed to have a degree
in computer science in 2012. In 2006, RadioShack Corp. CEO David Edmondson was
found to not possess degrees in either theology or psychology.
These instances all disregard honesty, a core value of public relations. Every
ethical public relations professional must try to “protect and advance the free flow
of accurate and truthful information,” according to the PRSA. These corporate
executives rose to the top in a deceitful manner and have now fallen. This goes to
show that, in public relations and all business practices, honesty is always a good
--by Bethany Corne, PRSSA General Member
All blogs are written by general members of UAPRSSA and Capstone Agency.