Whole Foods CEO John Mackey says he stands his ground against Amazon

Key Points
  • John Mackey spoke to Whole Foods employees on Tuesday about the grocer's current relations with Amazon.
  • Mackey said he has spoken "truth to power" when necessary and Amazon has "backed off," according to a Business Insider report.
  • Mackey said he is "overall pleased" with where the company is at.
John Mackey, co-founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods Market
Dustin Finkelstein | Getty Images

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey on Tuesday held a company town hall 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 is 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.

To read the full Business Insider story.