John Mackey is back. The Whole Foods CEO raised the ire of the SEC last year, after he posted pseudonymous comments (using “Rahodeb,” an anagram of his wife’s name, as his handle) on Yahoo! boards talking up Whole Foods’ financial outlook (and his own haircut). The SEC investigation came up with nada, his company’s board reiterated its support, and now Mackey’s yakking it up again at the Whole Foods blog.
Logically enough, his first entry was a defense of his stint as Rahodeb. Of his posts on the Yahoo! Whole Foods Market discussion group, he says:
From the very beginning, I also recognized that this online community had a large number of Whole Foods Market bashers and stock ‘shorters’ who regularly made defamatory and often inaccurate statements about the company. Most of my posts at Yahoo! were made in response to these defamatory attacks on Whole Foods Market. I co-founded Whole Foods Market 28 years ago and have been its only CEO during its entire existence. Next to my wife, I love Whole Foods Market more than anything else in the entire world. Creating and growing this company has been my life’s work. Like any good parent, I wanted to defend my ‘child’ when it was being maligned and attacked unfairly, and I often came to its defense, wielding my debating skills as best I could.
Mackey says he did not participate in the Yahoo! group to “denigrate Wild Oats” (Whole Foods’ one-time competitor), and he apologizes for “putting a negative spotlight on our company.” “If I could get a ‘do-over’ on this one, I certainly would choose not to have ever participated in the Yahoo! online financial communities,” he writes. “Unfortunately, I cannot undo the past. I can only learn the many valuable lessons that are here for me to learn and try to do better in the future.”
Now there’s an apology politicians could learn from. As Samuel Fromartz at Chews Wise says, “Mackey previously had a lively blog with a lot of comments, so we look forward again to seeing what issues he raises.” Under his real name, this time.