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Whole Foods Names Co-Founder John Mackey As Sole CEO

For six years, Whole Foods has been run by two co-CEOs, but amid increased competition and sagging revenue, the high-priced grocery chain has decided it’s for the best to have only one person leading the company: co-founder John Mackey. 

Whole Foods announced this morning that Mackey, who opened the first Whole Foods store 36 years years ago in Austin, will be the company’s sole CEO starting on Dec. 31. Mackey’s current co-CEO Walter Robb will remain with Whole Foods as an advisor and member of the board.

The company is hoping this change will help spur a turnaround in slumping sales.

“I like our positioning, but I’m not going to sugarcoat it … We’ve got to up our game and that’s what we are intending to do,” Mackey said on a call reporting quarterly earnings, reported by Reuters.

Analysts tells Reuters that while other companies have managed to right sinking ships by bringing in founders and longtime CEOs, Whole Food faces stiff competition in the grocery market.

“In this fast-changing, very competitive market, the question is whether the founder will have the skills to right the ship,” retail expert Bill Bishop says.

Others contend that by having just one CEO the company will be better positioned to make big changes.

“You need the vision and direction coming from one leader,” retail consultant Roger Davidson, who served as an executive at Wild Oats when it was purchased by Whole Foods in 2007, tells Reuters.

Whole Foods founder Mackey retakes helm in turnaround [Reuters]

by Ashlee Kieler via Consumerist

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