Whole Foods, Wholly Embarrassed

John Mackey, the eccentric CEO of Whole Foods, does not shy away from a good argument. On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal revealed that Mackey hasn’t been waiting for the fight to come to him, either—he’s been seeking it out by posting anonymously on chat boards for the past eight years, using the handle Rahodeb, an anagram of his wife’s name.

Mackey’s posts mostly had to do with Whole Foods’s financial outlook and its attempt to acquire competitor Wild Oats. Predictably, Rahodeb’s opinion of Whole Foods was consistently bullish, while he bashed Wild Oats at every turn. Rahodeb also defended Mackey’s haircut after it was criticized, writing, “I think he looks cute!”

The whole mess came to light when Whole Foods filed papers with the Federal Trade Commission as part of the Wild Oats buyout process. Although the SEC has opened an informal inquiry into the postings, Whole Foods seems unconcerned, responding that these “are the personal postings of Mr. Mackey and not those of the company.” Mackey himself says, “I never intended any of those postings to be identified with me.”

And in fact, nothing about Rahodeb’s rantings seems to be technically illegal, but they are causing some to wonder, “Is Mackey too wacky to be [Whole Foods’s] CEO?”

See more articles
Share this article: