Whole Foods CEO Caught In Embarrassing Message Board Brouhaha

from the mackey dept

The FTC's decision to oppose Whole Foods' acquisition of Wild Oats is the result of a misguided and myopic definition of what constitutes the relevant market. And while many expect Whole Foods to ultimately prevail, the proceedings have been unpleasant for the company's CEO, John Mackey. First it was revealed that Mackey championed the merger, in part because he believed that by taking Wild Oats out of play, it would prevent another supermarket chain from quickly becoming a Whole Foods rival. That may or may not be damning (from an antitrust perspective), but a new revelation will prove to be far more embarrassing. As part of its latest legal filing, the FTC dropped the bombshell that John Mackey had, for several years, been posting on the the Yahoo Finance message boards under a pseudonym, cheerleading his company's success and denigrating its rival, Wild Oats. He even made predictions about the company's stock price, putting out extremely high estimates for its performance. It's not clear that what he did was necessarily illegal, but his posting seems unethical and highly foolish, at the very least. If nothing else, the company's stockholders should wonder about what the boss is doing with his time.

Filed Under: message boards
Companies: whole foods


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  1. identicon
    tcurranmortgage, 17 Jul 2007 @ 9:32am

    A Web Reputation Follows You

    In its simplest form, this tale describes how a CEO violates one of the most fundamental tenets of a public corporation: transparency.

    By creating online "alter egos" and attempting to hide his true IRL "self" this CEO demonstrated a telling quality of his chairmanship. If he can't be transparent on the internet---bearing in mind that your web reputation follows you wherever you go---how can he possibly be transparent in his other CEO activities?

    Too, this story proves that many people still don't get it about the internet: the 'net doesn't provide the anonymity they all think it does!

    I post a lot on the 'net and I follow a simple rule: whatever I "say" online is a direct reflection on my business. This allows me to keep my ire in check when attacked by a troll or when I want to fire off something silly and negative in response to something that gets me angry.

    I've found this basic rule has saved me from embarrassing myself when I wanted to let my emotions speak instead of keeping my cool and thinking "long term" about my business and its online reputation.

    Sometimes simple is very, very hard to do, but it's well worth the effort.

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