Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Whole Foods' CEO Mackey "Back to Blogging"

Whole Foods' CEO John Mackey has returned to blogging. You may recall that in 2007, as Whole Foods was planning an acquisition of Wild Oats, it became known that Mackey had been making posts about the two companies on Yahoo! Finance discussion boards under the pseudonym "rahodeb." Whole Foods' Board, the FTC, and the SEC immediately began an investigation under accusations that he attempted to assail his competitor and improve his own company's stock performance. You can read the story in TIME, MSNBC, and NY Times.

In this second post, Mackey points out that "the board affirm(ed) their complete support for me and the SEC recommend(ed) that no enforcement action be made against Whole Foods Market or me." Mackey offers his side of the story, stating that the media selected only a few of his postings and then, he states, "exaggerated, distorted and, in some cases, simply lied about what I actually said. The comments that were taken out of proper context of the overall discussion do not accurately represent the actual spirit of rahodeb’s postings, in my opinion." Mackey also goes on to explain the following points:

  • that he enjoyed the lively online debates;

  • he has a competitive spirit and the right to express his own opinion;

  • he made a mistake in judgment, not ethics;

  • at the time he started posting in this online community, he was a relative unknown and had not become a public figure;

  • he was wrongly accused of attempting to manipulate Wild Oats' stock price and his last posting on the topic was 5 months prior to beginning talks of acquisition;

  • his postings were not an attempt to increase Whole Foods' stock price.

His lesson learned? That he has become a public figure and his public and private lives are closely intertwined and impact one another.

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