Walmart hired a firm to gather intel about a rival CEO, allegedly to look into an extramarital affair.
The investigation was uncovered when Wikileaks released information from nearly six million internal emails from Strategic Forecasting (Stratfor) over the last two years. Following the trial of Anonymous activist Jeremy Hammond, the last batch of said emails allegedly points to something dirty on the retail chain’s behalf.
According to the intel leak, Walmart had hired Stratfor to investigate the alleged extramarital affairs of a global rival’s CEO. It appears they tried to cover it up in the name of job recruitment. With all of the shady things Walmart is allegedly wrapped up in these days, most of us wouldn’t put it past them to attempt corporate espionage.
On the less scandalous side, it seems Walmart hired the firm in 2008 to look into potential security risks in their supply chain. Such security risks included global terrorism and drug cartel activity, which could interrupt the flow of goods from international suppliers.
At the time, Stratfor posted a public press release stating:
“Wal-Mart will use the country risk rankings and associated Stratfor analysis as the basis for determining appropriate supply chain security counter-measures and to provide early warning of emerging threats that could disrupt deliveries of goods to major markets around the world.”
— Liberationtech (@Liberationtech) November 21, 2013
While that was a realistic enough business strategy, the latest set of emails released about Stratfor revealed Walmart checking into a CEO working for a global rival. Walmart had stated they were interested in hiring the person, and were focusing on integrity, honesty, and “commitment to ethical behavior.”
The rival CEO checked into by the firm Walmart hired was Per Bank, whose background came up clean enough, but the retailer apparently wanted more detailed information. Per Bank at the time was the CEO of Tesco, and has since moved on to Dansk Supermarked in Denmark.
The information was highlighted in a conversation between then Walmart head Scott McHugh and Stratfor VP of Intelligence Fred Burton:
“We would like some additional research into Per Bank. Our research indicates he has many female friends and I was wondering whether that was simply because many of his friends are women or if this is indicative of marital infidelity.”
Now why would “marital infidelity” be a factor in hiring practices? Walmart itself isn’t known for its squeaky clean reputation behind the scenes, either. Recent protests over their work conditions and wages have shown how willing they are to allegedly ignore their employees in favor of a higher profit margin.
What do you think of Walmart hiring a firm to allegedly look into a rival CEO’s sex life?