Sep 13, 2019
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Walmart recruits Nuala O’Connor for new 'digital citizen' role

Sep 13, 2019

Arkansas-based mega-retailer Walmart has appointed Nuala O’Connor to the new role of senior vice president and chief counsel of digital citizenship. 

According to a press statement from Walmart, the position “will focus on how Walmart uses data and technology in a way that supports the company’s goal to be the most trusted retailer.”

In the role, O’Connor will report directly to Rachel Brand, executive vice president of global governance, chief legal officer and corporate secretary. 

Prior to joining Walmart, O’Connor served as vice president of compliance and customer trust and as associate general counsel for privacy and data protection at fellow retail giant, Amazon, in addition to holding the role of chief privacy leader and senior counsel, information governance at General Electric.

Outside of the private sector, O’Connor previously served as chief privacy officer with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Most recently, she served as president and chief executive officer of the Center for Democracy and Technology. 

“This digital citizenship function will counsel the company on issues related to privacy, use of data and data governance, emerging technologies, cybersecurity, and records management,” said Brand.

“They will advise not only on whether we may legally use data or technology in a particular way, but also on what effect that use would have on our relationship of trust with our customers and stakeholders…[O’Connor] is an internationally recognized expert in technology policy, and her vast experience in data privacy, information governance, and emerging technology issues makes her a perfect fit for this role.”

O’Connor’s addition comes after CEOs from companies including Walmart, Amazon, Salesforce, IBM and AT&T co-signed a letter to U.S. Congress calling for a comprehensive federal consumer data privacy law earlier this week. In the letter, the companies requested legislation “that strengthens protections for consumers and establishes a national privacy framework to enable continued innovation and growth in the digital economy.” 

The appointment also follows the March announcement that the F.B.I. was investigating whether employees of one of Walmart’s technology contractors, Compucom, participated in a breach of Walmart’s internal information by monitoring several of the company’s email accounts, including those of company executives. 

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