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John Mackey, co-founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods Market
Whole Foods CEO John Mackey on Tuesday held a town-hall company in which he assured employees he continues to stand his ground against the grocer’s new corporate parent, according to Business Insider, which said it obtained a recording of that meeting.
“I ultimately am not afraid to get fired so — not that I think they are going to fire me — but I’m not afraid of it, so that gives me a position of strength to speak truth to power when it’s necessary to do so, and I’ve done it many, many times,” he said, according to Business Insider.
“And that’s been a good thing because Amazon has listened and they have been very respectful and they have backed off.”
Whole Foods was sold to Amazon last year under pressure from stalling sales, a falling stock price and an aggressive activist investor. Since the deal, though, many have wondered whether there would be a culture clash between notably free-spirited Mackey and Amazon’s buttoned-up corporate culture.
Mackey said he was happy so far.
“Does that mean I love absolutely everything about Amazon? No. I don’t,” he said. “I don’t love absolutely everything about my wife either, but on balance, I love like 98 percent. That’s a pretty good ratio based on my previous relationships.”
The grocer has rolled out a number of changes since its sale to Amazon, some of which are a continuation of efforts that preceded the sale. It has worked to automate its inventory system, streamline its relations with smaller, niche brands and centralize its in-store merchandising.
It has also rolled out a number of new in-store benefits for Amazon Prime members.
Whole Foods did not immediately have a comment.