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Whole Foods’ John Mackey to step down as CEO

Whole Foods Markets chief government John Mackey mentioned he’ll step down subsequent yr from the upscale grocer he co-founded greater than 4 a long time in the past.

“Honestly, it’s very hard to retire from a company that I have helped to create, nourish and grow for 44 years,” the outspoken government wrote in a Thursday blog post to staff.

“All parents reach a time when they must let go and trust that the values imparted will live on within their children,” Mackey added. “That time has nearly come for me and for Whole Foods.”

The pioneering grocer mentioned he had hand-picked his successor as CEO, Jason Buechel, 4 years earlier than Amazon acquired Whole Foods in 2017 for $13.4 billion. Buechel, presently the corporate’s chief working officer, joined the corporate in 2013.

The 500-store chain had been struggling earlier than Amazon swooped in. The deal rattled the grocery trade, which feared an armageddon for typical supermarkets. But that didn’t occur and in some methods Amazon is forging its personal path with grocery shops, launching Amazon Fresh and Amazon Go shops over the previous couple of years.

The 68-year-old Houston native mentioned he would pursue his “other life passions” when he retires a yr from now, with out offering particulars.

Customer shops for produce at a Whole Foods
Whole Foods, co-founded by Mackey, nonetheless has not shaken the “Whole Paycheck” picture it’s gotten over its dear choices regardless of proprietor Amazon’s current overhauls.
Getty Images

Over the years, Mackey has been recognized for his controversial remarks about wholesome consuming together with an incident this yr through which he instructed Freakonomics host Stephen Dubner, “I mean, honestly, we talk about health care. The best solution is not to need health care.” He additionally brought on a stir when he beseeched different company titans final yr to sentence socialism, which he dubbed as “trickle-up poverty.”

In current years, Whole Foods has battled labor unions and complaints about its excessive costs, and was aptly nicknamed “Whole Paycheck” — a picture that it has not but shaken whilst Amazon overhauled a few of the inexpensive, private-label merchandise.