Skip to main content

Via PR newswire release: CtW Investment Group (Self described as an organization that "works with pension funds sponsored by unions affiliated with Change to Win, a federation of unions representing nearly 6 million members, to enhance long-term shareholder returns through active ownership.") has written a letter to a Whole Foods Board Director in which they call on the Board to replace John Mackey as CEO.

This is an amazing development, and never would have been possible without the groundswell of support for a boycott of Whole foods.

More discussion, and letter excerpts below the fold.

First, let me say that of course I realize that a union-affiliated organization would be anxious to criticizes the notoriously anti-union Whole Foods corporation.  

However, this letter is not appealing for unionization.  Rather, it is appealing as an enormously powerful long-term investor in Whole Foods stock.  In fact, the word "union" is only used in describing CtW Investment Group.

Here are some quotes from the letter (all emphases are mine):
(the original can be seen here)

Events of the past week establish yet again that John Mackey’s lack of personal discipline makes him a liability for Whole Foods Market, Inc.  Despite past indications that the board needed to exercise independent oversight of Mr. Mackey and supervise his external communications closely – most notably his postings on the Yahoo! Finance bulletin board, which led to an SEC inquiry – you and your fellow directors failed to take meaningful action to prevent Mr. Mackey’s uncompensated brand and reputational risk to our Company.

We therefore call on the board to immediately undertake the following:

   * Immediately remove Mr. Mackey as Chairman of the Board.

Whole Foods ... has benefitted from growing environmental and health consciousness among affluent urban consumers.  However, this leading position makes Whole Foods uniquely vulnerable to disaffection from these core customers if they perceive that the company is not managed in a manner consistent with their values.

While we respect Mr. Mackey’s First Amendment right to express his political views, as he did for instance in noting that the Constitution contains no "right" to health care, we hasten to point out that neither the First Amendment nor any other provision of the Constitution give Mr. Mackey or any other CEO the right to retain their position regardless of behavior or performance.  Moreover, Mr. Mackey’s article was not a citizen’s "letter to the editor," but a lengthy op-ed that explicitly tied him to Whole Foods by identifying him as the CEO.  Given Whole Foods’ unique exposure to a key segment of the customer base, Mr. Mackey’s decision to express his views in such a public way, and on an issue of such enormous moment, seems ill-advised at best.

we first called on the board to remove Mr. Mackey as chairman and to evaluate his suitability as director and CEO in a letter to you over two years ago.  In that letter, we specifically called the board to investigate whether Mr. Mackey’s Yahoo! Finance postings violated Whole Foods’ code of conduct and to establish clear disciplinary policies for unsanctioned executive communications.    Unfortunately, you failed to take any meaningful action, and now Whole Foods shareholders again face potentially damaging fallout from unmanaged and uncompensated reputational risk.

Similar inaction now is unacceptable. The board must act immediately to address the burgeoning crisis caused by Mr. Mackey’s undisciplined behavior or shareholders will have little option but to conclude that you and your fellow directors are unable or unwilling to hold management accountable.

Originally posted to Hopefully Skeptical on Tue Aug 25, 2009 at 04:51 PM PDT.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Meteor Blades, Deep Dark, Mike, RakDaddy, JekyllnHyde, zeke L, cdreid, Angie in WA State, Sylv, easong, Terri, dwellscho, mperloe, jillian, Trix, SWicklund, PrahaPartizan, Sean Robertson, Mogolori, Chi, catdevotee, Phoenix Woman, Radiowalla, itsbenj, hester, grollen, ogre, Rayne, alyosha, Bendygirl, Trendar, Ivan, Geenius at Wrok, abarefootboy, Raybin, tiggers thotful spot, pyramus, Unstable Isotope, whataboutbob, mem from somerville, saraswati, am, BigOkie, theboz, mattman, lapis, Bob Love, MikeHickerson, sacrelicious, tnichlsn, bosdcla14, dengre, tommurphy, sara seattle, LynChi, SanJoseLady, meg, Arlyn, eeff, cmkinchi, xynz, HootieMcBoob, Sandy on Signal, blksista, frisco, caliberal, blogswarm, MarkInSanFran, mataliandy, zeitshabba, Creosote, silence, JLFinch, bigforkgirl, bara, agoldnyc, opinionated, CatM, concernedamerican, bronte17, davechen, conchita, landrew, mik, Shadan7, guyute16, elveta, understandinglife, MD patriot, dvogel001, nudger, ask, CoolOnion, bluesteel, KMc, boadicea, themank, Minerva, fishwars, gayntom, mkfarkus, pattisigh, mrblifil, greengrrl, Transmission, Aquarius40, farmerhunt, chimpy, pollbuster, peraspera, L0kI, kanuk, slangist, exconservative, itskevin, PeteZerria, Iberian, navajo, antirove, Alna Dem, Chrisfs, dksbook, wader, Quege, byebyeblinkie, Ludi, Dittoz, oldjohnbrown, Dallasdoc, American Zapatista, by foot, missliberties, pat bunny, Sycamore, Kentucky DeanDemocrat, gmb, LordMike, Damnit Janet, yet another liberal, Kidspeak, desmoinesdem, mnguitar, Nemagaiq, mrgrandefromage, nika7k, TX Scotia, snakelass, Neighbor2, Democratic Hawk, Oaktown Girl, Donna in Rome, econlibVA, Noisy Democrat, AllisonInSeattle, ybruti, glattonfolly, skywalker, randallt, KayCeSF, tomjones, Marcus L Salyer, poemworld, SadieB, DarkSyde, lyvwyr101, bablhous, wezelboy, ganymeade, malcontent, Ameranth, rolet, Knoxilla, rmx2630, Sybil Liberty, Dave in RI, Frank Vyan Walton, midwestmom, kevsterwj, Gowrie Gal, davidkc, Julie Gulden, Big Tex, joanneleon, A Citizen, ExStr8, bloomer 101, Bluesee, radarlady, 3goldens, Tinfoil Hat, NoMoreLies, case, Captain Slack, awesley, jarneys dad, seesdifferent, rweba, Technowitch, PBen, sap, KnotIookin, Flint, willibro, grimjc, kitchen sink think tank, citizenx, basquebob, RequestedUsername, dewtx, ChemBob, juliesie, Brooke In Seattle, trinityfly, reflectionsv37, Bouwerie Boy, ratzo, eru, GUGA, Chaoslillith, Frank Palmer, Dem Beans, CarolynC967, Overseas, quaoar, Little Lulu, gerardbellavita, lasky57, jane123, jtg, Isara, dspivak, Savvy813, alisonc, serrano, kerplunk, AngieV, bebacker, rerutled, timba, Alan Arizona, kathny, fhcec, begone, vilegrrl, debedb, lcork, DisNoir36, martini, Showman, hlee1169, Icy, Thundergod, BalanceSeeker, Stephan Kuttner, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, cas2, vigilant meerkat, ferallike, BlueInARedState, Califlander, HoundDog, Prognosticator, moneysh, mrobinson, ccmask, fromer, rhetoricus, Albatross, Stop the planet I want to get off, hideinplainsight, Rat Lady, Blue Wind, DarkestHour, tecampbell, birdbrain64, MJ via Chicago, global citizen, jasonbl, nonnie9999, merryberry, Bush Bites, SadieSue, JVolvo, plf515, CTLiberal, Preston S, el cid, mhw, myrealname, edgery, doinaheckuvanutjob, middleagedhousewife, Pilgrim X, Dagoril, justiceputnam, snapcat, dirkster42, TeddySanFran, Persiflage, zhimbo, Timothy J, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, FiddleDeeDee, BB10, HRs Kevin, Stripe, means are the ends, cherryXXX69, zorthron, lynneinfla, Intercaust, Hedwig, AllanTBG, OHdog, eastmt, ammasdarling, AmericanRiverCanyon, clinging to hope, One Pissed Off Liberal, out of left field, asilomar, anotherdemocrat, Cronesense, Haningchadus14, dmh44, Purplepeople, offgrid, Duccio, Nespolo, Cofcos, noofsh, Matt Z, terabytes, deepeco, DWG, Strabo, bnasley, 99 Percent Pure, jayden, GMFORD, jedennis, Heyroot, SeaTurtle, thursdays child, Ken in Tex, Moderation, PrgrsvArchitect, uciguy30, Got a Grip, The Red Pen, JML9999, Desa, A Person, lorac18nc, TomP, Empower Ink, jules4sail, Send Rahm a Cheesecake, JDWolverton, fayeforcure, mconvente, AlexanderChee, JeffW, Port City Moon, weegeeone, rontun, ScottyUrb, elwior, Wes Opinion, filby, ajr111240, Pragmaticus, Sharon Wraight, redding888, Its any one guess, pkohan, Lujane, royce, boatjones, icebergslim, Jake Williams, PaulD, pickandshovel, Jeff Y, mnguy66, Seamus D, bakenjuddy, Jacques, Blogvirgin, xysea, BYw, red 83, zogren, Tross, allie123, dont think, Nona D Above, caps lock on, dmhlt 66, immigradvocate, Robinswing, shortgirl, papicek, statsone, foolmanchoo, JCAinCLE, oldliberal, clent, maggiejean, 1BQ, ilikeitdark, Bule Betawi, pileta, McGahee220, number nine dream, denisegreenbay, DontTaseMeBro, wtxdem, Texanomaly, bushondrugs, litoralis, divineorder, LinSea, juca, holger smed, An Affirming Flame, WereBear, Shhs, bsmechanic, banjolele, CanyonWren, RustyCannon, Field of Dreams, DancinMan, Gorilla in the room, Partisan Progressive, ProgressiveMan, velvet blasphemy, jodygirl, JesseCW, zackamac, EquationDoc, DefendOurConstitution, sillycilla, wmdrpa, John Shade, smartheart, BDsTrinity, followyourbliss, AvoMonster, MKSinSA, jazzence, COwoman, IngeniousGirl, Keith Pickering, Munchkn, IreGyre, Petey2, Lava20, louisprandtl, 57andFemale, serecovery, tote, ArthurPoet, ILean Left, brushysage, ActionableAgenda, spyguy999, FlipperWaves, azadmanish, jan0080, mahakali overdrive, spicecakes69, Adept2u, davespicer, Enrika, Wendy Slammo, RogerDodger, Super Grover, Cleopatra, susan in sc, George Pirpiris, Larsstephens, Words In Action, BlueOak, kfd313, Just Bob, Lazar, ppl can fly, niaman, lpeggy, mudmanor, angry liberaltarian, awcomeon, grassrootsnm, bglv, rb137, marabout40, Jampacked, pyegar, kyakaha, miss SPED, diamondqueen, infpinfp, roadbear, Pebbles, LaughingPlanet, Commoditize This, Darkmoth, robertacker13, The Free Agent, jethrock, UTvoter, green minute, Indie Tarheel, fidellio, Anima, Dancing Angel, Tcoopy, Ann T Bush, Crabby Abbey, wvmom, msmo1918, Melissa J, evdherberg, lostmypassword, 2questions, RJP9999, polar bear, cordgrass, madeup64, pixxer, prinmemo, ItsSimpleSimon, xhale, shoelady, Egalitare, aggie98, Jaimas, Earth Ling, sluggahjells, Weaselina, washunate, nirbama, gereiztkind, farbuska, roystah, MsGrin, BlueFranco, Hoosierdaddio, Floande, Inspired By Nature, Loose Fur, Dems in 08, alexa100, slice, Jake Goad, BrowniesAreGood, Colorado is the Shiznit, Walk The Plank, mateohussein, Wolf Of Aquarius, wahine, anyname, the national gadfly, Sand Hill Crane, kevin k, cusoon, rock city, MrNavajo, marleycat, PorridgeGun, majii, Cinnamon Rollover, dle2GA, debaseTheBase, JohnInOregon, KVoimakas, gokinsmen, floridablue, UpstateAlan, OneL, tier1express, MRA NY, tenzen, Sark Svemes, antooo, gayjustice, Daulphin, Aquagranny911, virtuerules, Wom Bat, Ur Regular, happenstance, Amaryliss, bluck, That Korean Guy, aymandaman, thejoshuablog, RatCitySqueaker, Reliefpitcher, epicurious, MichaelNY, The Cheshire Cat, progressive jim, sciphile, hrolf555

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site