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K Street Files: Walmart Executive Decamps for Retail Federation

Bill Thorne, Walmart’s senior director of community affairs, will join the National Retail Federation in June as its senior vice president of communications and public affairs.

He replaces Tita Freeman, who recently left the NRF for the Business Roundtable.

“Bill has an incredible career spanning decades of public affairs work, building the offices of prestigious public affairs firm DCI Group with clients including AT&T, Lockheed Martin and Verizon, serving on a host of political campaigns, and working in the U.S. Senate,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay wrote in an email to the board.

During his tenure at Walmart, Thorne also served as senior director of advocacy outreach, where he created the retailer’s corporate, public and political advocacy network.

In addition to Walmart, Thorne’s resume includes a stint as vice president at the DCI Group, where he did grass-roots advocacy and PR for corporate clients. He was also the American Medical Association’s director of political and legislative grassroots and, before that, an aide to former Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas).

Thorne is departing Walmart as the nation’s largest retailer faces fallout from a New York Times report on allegations it bribed Mexican officials in its effort to expand south of the border. Democratic Reps. Elijah Cummings (Md.) and Henry Waxman (Calif.), have said they are launching an investigation into the matter, according to news reports.

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