Whole Foods co-founder John Mackey to step down as CEO next year

John Mackey, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, speaks at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills

(Reuters) – Whole Foods Chief Executive Officer John Mackey will retire next September from his role at the Amazon.com Inc-owned company which he co-founded 43 years ago.

In a letter to Whole Foods employees on Thursday, Mackey said the company’s chief operating officer, Jason Buechel, will take over as head of the upscale grocer.

Mackey said Buechel was his choice and the Amazon leadership had agreed with his decision.

Amazon’s $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods in 2017 had sent a shock through the stodgy U.S. supermarket business as the e-commerce giant threatened to upend the way consumers shop at traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

Industry experts, however, have questioned Amazon’s strategy with Whole Foods, especially last year when a boom in delivery demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic seemed to have overwhelmed the grocery retailer https://reut.rs/3F8DRbJ.

(Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)