Whole Foods CEO Back Online

May 30, 2008 12:41 PM
by Sarah Amandolare
Less than a year after he was discovered posting anonymously in online forums, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey is blogging again.

30-Second Summary

John Mackey is using his own name and posting on the Whole Foods Web site, 11 months after being caught posting anonymous online comments about the company and a competitor.

In July 2007, Mackey concealed his identity to promote himself and Whole Foods Market on Yahoo Finance stock forums, a legally questionable activity bolstering a Federal Trade Commission case to prevent Whole Foods from purchasing competitor Wild Oats.

Discovery of Mackey’s posts under the pseudonym “Rahodeb” prompted an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which has now cleared Mackey of any wrongdoing.

In his new post on the Whole Foods Web site, Mackey expressed his desire to “respond openly and truthfully” to accusations of 2007. He said online communities were a “very useful forum for me to explore various ideas and theories, and to have them discussed, criticized and debated.”

Mackey apologized to Whole Foods and said if he had the chance to do it again, he “certainly would choose not to have participated in the Yahoo! online financial communities.”

However, some bloggers are defending Mackey’s right to an online presence. “Some CEOs play golf. Some CEOs date supermodels. Mackey had the audacity of passing the time by passionately defending his company on a stock board,” said Rick Aristotle Munarriz of the blog The Motley Fool.

Headline Links: Mackey back online

Background: Seven years in secret

Opinion & Analysis: Mackey’s critics and supporters

Related Topics: The Cisco situation

Reference: SEC report clears Mackey


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