Julie Roehm: Gone But Not Forgotten

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Oct. 29, 2012 12:00 am  

A note from one of our real estate insiders took us on a trip down memory lane.

A 5,159-SF home in the upscale St. Valery Downs subdivision of Cave Springs sold a month ago for $688,300. The sellers? Michael and Julie Roehm.

Ah, Julie Roehm. We hardly knew you.

We hardly knew you were still living in northwest Arkansas, either.

You might recall that Roehm was hired by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in February 2006 as a senior marketing executive.

She started there as a star, with a $325,000 annual salary, stock options and a $250,000 signing bonus. A few months later, the Roehms bought the St. Valery Downs home on Caerleon Circle for $830,000.

But Roehm's time at Wal-Mart might best be labeled a clash of cultures.

Her job there ended in scandal after 10 months, when she was fired for a variety of reasons, including accusations of a romantic relationship with a subordinate - who also was fired - and accepting gifts while directing the competitive process to hire an advertising agency.

Wal-Mart, which has no tolerance for its employees accepting gifts from those it does business with, also canned the agency Roehm hired for its $580 million advertising budget.

Roehm filed a lawsuit, Wal-Mart filed a counter-claim, and Roehm lobbed ethics accusations at former CEO Lee Scott. It was salacious, though both sides eventually dropped all the legal fisticuffs.

Roehm apparently followed her stint at Wal-Mart by working as a Cave Springs-based independent consultant, but now is back in the advertising game.

She was hired earlier this year in Connecticut as a marketing executive for global business software company SAP.

In a January story about her hiring, Business Insider referred to Roehm as the "Bad Girl of Advertising." The story began like this:

"Julie Roehm - the former Walmart advertising chief who was fired in 2006 after she was seen sitting in the lap of an exec at ad agency DraftFCB, which had paid for a $2,000 dinner at New York's trendy Nobu restaurant - is back."

As far as northwest Arkansas is concerned, however, she's now apparently gone.



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