AUSTIN, Texas -- Whole Foods Market here last week said its founder and chief executive officer, John Mackey, would relinquish the title of chairman of the board at the natural and organic food chain.
Mackey had been chairman since 1978. John B. Elstrott, a member of the board since 1995 and lead director since 2001, will assume the chairman title. The lead director position had been performing the chairman functions since 2000, the company said.
"Despite this shift in responsibilities which has rendered the chairman role to a mere title, the company repeatedly has received proposals from corporate activists to separate the chairman and CEO roles," Whole Foods said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. "To avoid unnecessary distraction and protect the company’s corporate governance profile, Mackey believes giving up the chairman title to be in the best interests of the company and its stakeholders."
The lead director role will be eliminated, Whole Foods said.
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