Walmart has named Matt Miner, a fairly senior Justice Department official during the Trump Administration, as its next global chief ethics and compliance officer. He succeeds Dan Trujillo, who left the retail giant in April after two years as the compliance boss.
Miner had been working at law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius since January 2020, where he was partner in the Washington office and head of the firm’s white-collar litigation practice. From 2018 until 2020 Miner was a deputy assistant attorney general in the Criminal Division, where he oversaw FCPA investigations and other corporate enforcement issues.
So with his arrival at Walmart, Miner now completes the three-point turn from Big Law to Justice Department to Corporate America.
“Walmart has long been a leader and innovator in the business community and that same spirit carries over to the company’s dedication to compliance,” Miner said in a prepared statement probably drafted by someone else. “I am absolutely thrilled to join the business. I see this as an opportunity unlike any other to tackle complex and diverse issues as part of a truly extraordinary company.”
Miner’s boss at Walmart will be chief legal officer Rachel Brand. She also worked at the Justice Department during the Trump Administration as associate attorney general, the No. 3 post at the department. Brand, however, left the Justice Department in February 2018 (to take her job at Walmart) just as Miner arrived, so their tours of duty there never overlapped.
Miner ushered along several significant policy updates during his time at the Justice Department. Most notably, he led the update to the Guidelines for Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs (Walmart’s press release described him as the “architect” of the guidelines), which arrived in April 2019. The Justice Department also released a second update in July 2020, although Miner had left the department by then.
At other times in his Justice Department tenure, Miner also talked up the importance of data analytics for effective compliance programs and considering a company’s ability to pay enforcement penalties as part of settlement talks.
Meanwhile, at Walmart
We also need to remember that Walmart settled its long-running FCPA enforcement case in June 2019. Miner had to have been at least aware of those talks, too, if not involved in the settlement directly. (Miner is not one of the many Justice Department officials quoted in the department’s press release about the settlement.)
I have mixed emotions about the revolving door between political and corporate corridors of power. Does it look unseemly? Often yes, although I can think of many examples more unseemly than Miner going to Walmart. Then again, if corporations never hire regulators and vice-versa, that only deepens the gulf between the two — and have each side constantly wail, “They just don’t understand us!” doesn’t seem productive to me. So I want to see how Miner performs at Walmart before I join any critics complaining about the revolving door.
Walmart also has several other senior compliance officer roles it needs to fill underneath Miner. David Searle, who had been the chief international ethics and compliance officer, which is typically the No. 2 compliance job at Walmart, left the company in March. To the best of my knowledge, a successor hasn’t been named.
A small but steady stream of other mid-level and senior compliance officers have left in recent months too, although in a business as huge as Walmart (2.3 million employees) that turnover within the compliance department might not be a significant number. If you know otherwise and want to gossip confidentially, email me at [email protected].