Whole Foods Limits Executive Messaging

November 7, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Whole Foods Market has imposed limits on online activities by its executives.

The firm, which had been embroiled in a controversy about financial message board postings related to the firm’s then-pending takeover of Wild Oats Market – “anonymous” postings that were ultimately attributed to Chairman and CEO John Mackey.  

The updated code bans senior Whole Foods executives and directors from posting messages about the company, its competitors or vendors on Internet forums that it doesn’t sponsor.  

In July, Mackey apologized to shareholders for posting messages on a Yahoo Inc chat forum under an alias for years. The postings talked up Whole Foods (and Mackey) while criticizing rival Wild Oats Markets Inc, which the firm later bought.

Last month the Board of Directors of the Austin, Texas-based firm said that the special committee of the Board of Directors of Whole Foods Market, Inc., assisted by its independent counsel, had  completed its investigation into the online financial message board postings – and reaffirmed its support of John Mackey and the Whole Foods Market leadership team.   They also said that they had turned those findings over to the Securities and Exchange Commission – which, in July, had  announced an investigation into those message board postings.