Associate AG Quits DOJ to Join Walmart

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Associate AG Quits DOJ to Join Walmart


Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand is leaving the U.S. Department of Justice to join Walmart Inc. as its EVP, global governance and corporate secretary, effective April 2. Reporting to President and CEO Doug McMillon, Brand will oversee the mega-retailer’s legal, global ethics and compliance and global investigation, security, aviation and travel departments, as well as serving as corporate secretary.

“We are fortunate to have a leader of Rachel Brand’s stature join the company,” said McMillon. “We have strengthened our governance capabilities, and Rachel will help us continue on that journey. Her strong character, capabilities and experience will enable her to contribute broadly as we shape the future of Walmart and strive to serve our customers even more effectively.”

Brand succeeds Jeff Gearhart, who retired last month. She brings extensive academic and professional experience to her new position, having served in the DOJ’s third-ranking position since May 2017 — the first woman to hold the role. As Associate Attorney General, Brand oversaw thousands of attorneys and professionals across the department’s civil law divisions, among them antitrust, tax and environment and natural resources.

A graduate of Harvard Law School, where she was deputy editor-in-chief of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Brand clerked on the Massachusetts Supreme Court, and then on the U.S. Supreme Court for Justice Anthony Kennedy. She was also assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Policy in the George W. Bush administration and was appointed by President Barack Obama to sit on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.

Outside of government, Brand was an associate professor of law at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School, an adjunct professor at George Washington University Law School and a private-practice lawyer in Washington, D.C. 

Brand will relocate to Walmart’s hometown of Bentonville, Ark., with her husband and two sons.

Despite rampant speculation in the press as to why she left her DOJ post, Lawfare Editor-in-Chief and Brookings Institute Senior Fellow Benjamin Wittes, a friend of Brand's, told MSNBC television host Rachel Maddow that Brand's decision to take the job at Walmart had nothing to do with any reported turmoil within the Trump administration.

Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart operates more than 11,600 stores under almost 60 banners in 28 countries and ecommerce websites, employing about 2.3 million associates worldwide.