Whole Foods

Board Advises Whole Foods To Bag CEO

wholefoods.jpgAn investment group that advises a coalition of labor unions sent a letter to Whole Foods’ lead independent director yesterday, advising the board to do business sans Crazy from this point forward. CtW, whose members own around 900,000 shares of WFMI, was apparently made uncomfortable with the revelation that the company’s co-founder and CEO had spent the better half of a decade posting comments in financial chat rooms about Whole Foods, rival Wild Oats and a few from the grab-bag, including “Mackey looks like a model for Brooks Brothers” and “I like Mackey’s haircut.”
The group strongly urged Whole Foods’ board to immediately name an independent chairman in order to assure government regulators and shareholders that Whole Foods takes a hard line on what some small-minded people might call “sociopathic tendencies.” Rahodeb, Aohber and Hodebra are among the names in the hopper for possible appointees.
Shares of WFMI are down 33 cents to $37.20.
Firm Asks Mackey To Log Out [New York Post]

Rahodeb Apologizes

JohnMackey.jpgWith investigations coming from the SEC and the Whole Foods board, CEO John “Rahodeb” Mackey apologized yesterday for eight years of anonymous posting on the Whole Foods Yahoo Finance message board.
“I sincerely apologize to all Whole Foods Market stakeholders for my error in judgment in anonymously participating on online financial message boards. I am very sorry and I ask our stakeholders to please forgive me.”
Mackey’s pseudonymous postings seem more indecorous than illegal, but the story continues to receive a lot of ink: the Wall Street Journal compiled a comprehensive and entertaining “Rahodeb’s greatest hits” here.
Whole Foods Sets Probe as CEO Apologizes [WSJ]

Only You Can Stop CEO Internet Addiction!

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For the most part, we stay away from online stock forums. As far as we can tell, the message boards are usually full of yahoos, stock cultists and pump-and-dump scam artists. But, it turns out, there are occasionally more interesting people lurking on the boards—sometimes even the CEOs of public companies.
Late yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported that Whole Foods co-founder and chief executive John Mackey had posted Yahoo Finance message boards under the name Rahodeb, which is his wife Deborah’s name spelled backwards. This morning it’s on the front page of the Journal.
We mentioned this story in the Opening Bell but we can’t let it go. We like Mackey. He seems like a decent guy. We admire his libertarian streak. The Federal Trade Commission ruling against the acquisition of Wild Oats was a travesty of justice. His refusal to back down to the federales has been inspirational. They have like seven different kinds of peppers at the Houston Street Whole Foods Market. You get the point. We predisposed to root for the guy.
But as hard as we try, we can’t understand what could have been going through his mind when he was going on message boards talking down his competitors (and future acquisition targets) and pumping up his own company. The only explanation we’ve been able to muster is this: the internet made him crazy!
It’s happened before. As Gary Weiss has shown, some chief executives simply cannot be trusted with the internet. If you are working in the IT department at a public company now, you might want to look into disconnecting your boss’s internet connection. It’s for his own good.

Whole Foods CEO’s Projections: A Question of Timing?

mackey.jpg Whole Foods CEO John Mackey spoke to a libertarian conference in 2004, and now Liberty magazine has printed his talk. Mackey’s talk was controversial because he urged the libertarians to give up their fascination with Ayn Rand, drugs, guns, porn and prostitution–all things which he said hurt the brand. Instead they should concentrate on creating educational choice, privatizing Social Security, deregulating health care, and tort reform
Perhaps more interesting, it seems that he may have given some very specific projections on the future of the company he runs.
More after the jump.

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