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Former Wal-Mart Exec Can't Do Biz With Discounter in DreamWorks Job

13 Sep, 2007 By: Chris Tribbey

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. may not be able to take full advantage of its recent hire.

David Porter, who as Wal-Mart's former VP and divisional merchandise manager was the discount chain's chief DVD guru, will work in a newly created position at the studio starting this month. This gives the studio someone with tremendous insight into the inner workings of America's biggest DVD retailer.

But a Wal-Mart spokesperson said that Porter will not be able to have any direct communication with his former employer in his new capacity.

“Mr. Porter will not be doing business with Wal-Mart during the timeframe designated in our policy,” spokesperson Sarah Clark said in an e-mail.

That policy does not allow former associates of Wal-Mart to do business “for a period of five years after the associate's separation … if a conflict of interest exists between the associate's former position at Wal-Mart and the associate's new position with a supplier.” Despite DreamWorks' titles being distributed by Paramount Home Entertainment, Porter will be subject to Wal-Mart's policy, Clark said.

“The Global Ethics Office reviews the inquiry and determines whether a conflict exists when a former associate proposes to go, or has gone, to work for a supplier,” she added.

DreamWorks Animation representatives could not be reached by press time. But spokesman Rich Sullivan told the Los Angeles Times that Porter will primarily be working on digital delivery and portable media avenues for the studio.

Wal-Mart has not yet named a replacement for Porter.

In other personnel news, DreamWorks Animation has hired Philip Cross as chief accounting officer. Cross had been serving as a consultant for the studio, and from 1980 to 2006 worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, as the firm's technology, information, communications and entertainment senior partner.

“We are pleased to welcome Phil to DreamWorks Animation,” said the studio's CFO and president, Lew Coleman. “As a seasoned finance professional, Phil brings a wealth of experience and knowledge that comes from more than 35 years in both accounting and the entertainment industry.”

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