March 4, 2010
(Washington, D.C.) – When Whole Foods shareholders meet on March 8, 2010, investors will consider actions that would bring greater accountability from Board members. The actions, supported by the most influential investor advisory group, Risk Metrics/ISS, also include a proposal to require a majority vote for shareholder proposals, rather than the current supermajority.
Investors have lost 30% or more by investing in Whole Foods over the last five years. It’s time for a change. The hard work of Whole Foods’ front line workers has been continually undermined by a CEO who is out of touch with customers and is unaccountable to investors. It’s time to reform how Whole Foods is managed and supporting shareholder proposals 3-6, as recommended by Risk Metrics/ISS, will help restore confidence in this troubled company.
Whole Foods sales are lagging in part due to the antics of its CEO who, in the past year, denounced President Obama’s health care reform efforts and publicly denied the science of climate change.
If Whole Foods’ CEO John Mackey spent a little less time antagonizing his best customers and more time growing the company, all of Whole Foods’ stakeholders would be better off. The company nearly doubled the number of part-time workers this year. Why is Mackey reducing full-time workers, the very people who add value to the shopping experience.
The proposals supported by the world’s largest shareholder advisory company include proposals to require a majority vote for shareholder proposals, rather than the current supermajority and the reversal of bylaw changes which the Board passed to make it harder for shareholders to hold Board members accountable.
Proposals 3-6 would establish much needed board accountability. The path forward for Whole Foods must involve all its stakeholders, most importantly its customers, investors and associates. Passing these proposals at the March 8th shareholder will move management in a more accountable direction, and that’s what’s needed to help turn around this troubled management.