It’s Official: Whole Foods CEO is an Idiot

Whole Foods John Mackey

John Mackey

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey is stirring people up again, alienating enough of his own customers that he’s been forced to do some backpedaling. Last week in an interview with Mother Jones, Mackey said:

We’ve been in a gradual warming trend since the ending of the “Little Ice Age” in about 1870, and climate change is perfectly natural and not necessarily bad. In general, most of humanity tends to flourish more when global temperatures are in a warming trend and I believe we will be able to successfully adapt to gradually rising temperatures. What I am opposed to is trying to stop virtually all economic progress because of the fear of climate change. I would hate to see billions of people condemned to remain in poverty because of climate-change fears.

This is the same guy who just today told the LA Times,

Business, …has “a horrible reputation.”

But instead of being “selfish and greedy and exploitative,” as it’s often portrayed, business is actually “the greatest force for good on this planet,” he said at a Westside gathering Thursday night.

“I’m an unabashed, complete free-enterprise capitalist enthusiast,” he said. “I see business as fundamentally heroic … [but] it could be so much better.”

This is the same guy who, in a discussion about President Obama’s health care overhaul with NPR’s Steve Inskeep, said that the new health care legislation is ‘fascism.’

“Technically speaking, it’s more like fascism. Socialism is where the government owns the means of production. In fascism, the government doesn’t own the means of production, but they do control it — and that’s what’s happening with our health care programs and these reforms.”

The comment made so many Whole Foods shoppers angry, Mackey was forced to step back his comments.

This is the same guy who, in 2007, the Denver Post said was a “half-wit,” when he was accused of stock manipulation after he was caught using a pseudonym:

Chief executive John Mackey’s admission of pseudonymous postings on a Yahoo message board reeks of possible stock manipulation and securities violations, not to mention juvenile judgment, gross arrogance, poor ethics and bad hair.

“If it was any other employee of the company, he would be fired,” said Lynn Turner, former chief accountant of the Securities and Exchange Commission. “The board should fire him.”

In more than 1,000 postings from 1999 through last August, Mackey took on Whole Foods critics, blasted the competition and talked up the organic grocer’s prospects as if he were just another bullish investor in the company.

He “voluntarily stepped down from his position as chairman of the board” after that kerfuffle.

Maybe I’m just missing something, but it seems to me that the typical Whole Foods customer demographic is exactly the type of person who is most likely to be offended by these comments. It’s time for him to go.


Your thoughts are welcome

  1. pascal says

    When Whole Foods started in Portland, I was going there as they gave chefs in town a discount card. I stopped going when they banned duck products that came for the Moulard ducks because they were byproducts of foie gras.
    Have not been since and never looked back. This guy is indeed an idiot.
    Go to New Seasons!

    • Magdalena says

      I’ll write another more public friendly comment so I don’t get banned. ;) Animal abuse is not okay, and if they banned fois gras, they did good. Please stop supporting the harming of sentient beings for your palate. Thank you.

      • says

        Neither is plant abuse. I have it on good authority that whole foods crowds their carrots and chokes their artichokes!

        PS. Your comment wasn’t banned – it just needed to wait for me to come along and put it through.

      • s says

        really I am so tired of people shaming others for consuming meat… we are all food for something… I choose humanely raised food and pray that I am the best meal for what ever consumes me…..

        • themick says

          Yuan…I did mean B12. Apart from trace amounts in dark green vegetables the only sources are meat, fish and sunlight. In fact this far north we get enough from sunlight alone to last to about December and then if you do not eat meat or fish you should be supplementing your diet in the winter months.

          Followed is a quote I found in reference to B12: A slight deficiency of vitamin B-12 can lead to anemia, fatigue, mania, and depression, while a long term deficiency can cause permanent damage to the brain and central nervous system. Vitamin B12 can only be manufactured by bacteria and can only be found naturally in animal products

          Thus my comment.

          • yuan says

            there are no trace amounts of B12 in dark green vegetables unless you mean organic vegetables infested with insects. moreover, anyone suffering from pernicious anemia is by definition suffering from a serious deficiency.

            many animal products have lower levels of b12 (e.g. poultry, pork, eggs, cheese) and prevalence of b12 deficiency in the general population is fairly high. from an evolutionary perspective, the most important source of dietary b12 in primates (including humans) was feces. since modern human beings are rarely corpophagous, supplementation is, IMO, a good idea for most people.

          • themick says

            Thanks for the correction Yuan. It’s been 25 years since I took a microbiology class (and it was a subject I neither liked nor one I was very good at). I do remember being taught about the “trace” elements in some vegetables and I never thought to question it but you are entirely correct. Doing a little research I found that they have indeed found B12 in some vegetables (spinach for example) but it turns out that it is only found in vegetables grown with the aid of manure (which makes complete sense after I was enlightened by your comments). Either way, if you don’t eat meat or fish (or shit) you should find a way to supplement your B12 levels

    • keith says

      It’s all about late stage, neo-liberalist capitalism…the guy’s a libertarian, what did you expect coming from him?

    • says

      I’m not saying his comments are idiotic, I’m saying that he’s not living up to his responsibilities, which should be to increase the customer base, not proffering his political views.

      • Paul says

        I’d be interested to see what percentage of revenues are “whole foods republicans” that agree with his comments.

    • Gigi says

      Actually, your statement reminds me of the saying “often wrong, but never in doubt”. How about we keep this about food…

      • themick says

        Nice! Haggis gets scolded for being “off topic” while basically reiterating the title off the thread. Ivy Baker Priest also said, “The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning.” which is a more fitting quote in this instance.

    • Jill-O says

      Can I get bacon on that, please?!

      P.S. – For my fellow foie lovers, Bar Vivant’s $5 seared slab on toast with a glass of sherry is a serious winner!

      P.P.S. – And the sweetbreads and french toast at Spints brunch (with no wait) are awesome!

  2. Bertha Pearl says

    Due to the CEO I have not shopped at WF for the last three years, and shockingly I am still okay…I hope he will alienate more folks, and that more people will shop local.

  3. Intercept says

    His capitalism tool worship is a little over the top, but his assessment of Anthropogenic Global Warming and the new boon to the insurance industry is not far off.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *