Hopefully last in an impromptu series ...
Latest developments in the saga of John Mackey, CEO (at least for now) of Whole Foods, and his ill-advised seven years of using an alias in thousands of postings touting himself and his company (and taking countless shots at his smaller competitor, Wild Oats, before he launched a take-over attempt of the same company) on a Yahoo! chat-board for stock investors:
- Whole Foods Board of Directors finally reacts to growing pressure and appoints an independent committee to look into the matter. (Actually, the press release calls it an "independent internal investigation." That oxymoron implies the committee's work is window-dressing while the Board waits to see how hot this is all going to get.) The Board action follows the SEC opening its own investigation, which clearly will be the investigation to watch.
- Whole Foods shuts down Mackey's blog in which he has for months been sharply attacking the FTC as it acted to block the take-over, er I mean merger, with Wild Oats. Mackey also used the blog as a forum to tout himself as the paragon of transparency -- with no irony intended, as long as his secret identity as "rahodeb" went unrevealed.
- Mackey issues terse, reluctant apology.
Although media and blog criticism was remarkably muted at first, as I noted last Friday, Mackey's ethical transgressions were too great to be dismissed as a prank.
What more is there to say?
- Jon Harmon