We wanted to look farther into what John Mackey of Whole Foods (NASDAQ:WFMI) really said on his Yahoo! message boards. The truth is that when you look through the links here under the full mode there are some 1394 posts with the final post being August 12, 2006 titled "Congratulations to hubris and goodbye"…..
It appears Mr. Mackey spent more than quite a bit of time attacking and trying to rebuff any criticism posted in the Yahoo! message board universe. It even looks like this was his part-time job. If you are not familiar with message boards, you should know that many online posts are spiteful and attacking in nature and these are rarely moderated.
The reporting of this issue is new, but the actions of this are nearly one-year old and were all in the past. That doesn’t make it right or justifiable in any sense of the imagination, but is at least a little perspective. It would be hard to imagine that a board of directors would allow this to knowingly happen. You can probably also bet that boards across the country are creating new policies banning future activities such as this if no such ban had been put in place. We commented on this earlier today, and still feel there will be more policies banning such corporate officer activities in the future.
Mackey is almost certainly not alone in this sort of behavior, but when you go in and look at the length of the posts and the fact that there were 1394 posts from him you have to wonder how many more hours Mackey would have had to run the company if he wasn’t paying attention to hostile message boards.
Mackey has always stood out from the crowd as far as an unorthadox CEO, but now it might be fair to wonder if he changed his name from Wacky. The stock had been down close to 3% earlier and shares are only down about 1.7% at $38.75 now. Once again, the reporting of this is new but the actions are basically one-year old and much farther back than that.
Jon C. Ogg
July 12, 2007
Jon Ogg can be reached at email@example.com; he does not own securities in the companies he covers.