Whole Foods co-founder and CEO John Mackey to step down in 2022

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As US natural food giant Whole Foods Market marks its 43rd anniversary, the retailer’s CEO and co-founder, John Mackey, has announced that he will be retiring in September 2022. 

Mackey made the announcement in a letter to Whole Foods’ employees yesterday 

In the letter, he writes: “I have thought long and hard about this, and while it is still surreal to write, I have decided to retire on September 1, 2022.  That is just about 11 months from today.

“Honestly, it’s very hard to retire from a company that I have helped to create, nourish and grow for 44 years when I leave. As a co-founder of Whole Foods, I’ve often explained my relationship to the company with a parent-child metaphor. As a parent, I have always loved Whole Foods with all my heart.

“I have done my best to instill strong values, a clear sense of higher purpose beyond profits, and a loving culture that allows the company and all our interdependent stakeholders to flourish.  All parents reach a time when they must let go and trust that the values imparted will live on within their children.  That time has nearly come for me and for Whole Foods.”

In the letter, Mackey announces that long-term Whole Foods executive (and WFM’s current chief operating officer), Jason Buechel, will take over as CEO when he retires. Mackey says: “Jason is a true servant leader and champion of Whole Foods’ culture and values, and he will lead the company into the future. Jason was my personal choice to replace me as the CEO and I’m pleased Amazon leadership agreed that he is the right person for the role”. 

Buechel joined Whole Foods in 2013 as global vice president and chief information officer and was promoted in 2015 to executive vice president before being named chief operating officer in 2019. In addition to being responsible for the operations of all WFM stores and facilities, he also currently oversees technology, supply chain and distribution, and Team Member Services (TMS).  

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