Management Turnover as Change Agent

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

CEO Watch - John Mackey, Whole Foods

John Mackey, the chairman and CEO of Whole Foods WFMI (NASDAQ), has found another opportunity to put his foot in his mouth. Mackey, Whole Foods’ controversial chairman and CEO, recently wrote a highly publicized op ed piece in the Wall Street Journal criticizing President Obama’s plan to reform healthcare. Many shareholders and shoppers at Whole Foods were quite distressed by Mackey’s comments in the piece. This is not the first time Mackey has found himselfJohn Mackey on the hotseat. Back in 2007 he nearly destroyed his company’s efforts to acquire Wild Oats one of his firm’s key competitors. Mackey was discovered to be writing negative comments about Wild Oats under an assumed name on Yahoo’s Finance Message board. The controversy nearly cost him his job. Then recently he was quoted during an earnings call in which he said,

“We sell a bunch of junk.”

Mackey now finds himself under pressure from activist investor CtW Investment Group. The firm recently wrote a letter calling for his dismissal as chairman and for the firm to develop a succession plan for his CEO position. I think the latest controversy will not disappear quickly and it is quite possible his time is numbered.

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