We really enjoy our Full Disclosure policy. We encourage our writers to disclose everything about their relationship to a company no matter how remote. Beyond disclosing whether they own a stock, our writers often disclose their use of the company's products, or those of a competitor. They will even go as far as mention if they would consider buying the stock or like the company logo.
Whole Foods (WFMI) ($39.00) CEO John Mackey is the opposite of that philosophy. According to an article at the Wall Street Journal by David Kesmodel and John Wilke, Mr. Mackey was making comments about competitors and pumping up Whole Food earnings reports on the Yahoo investment forums - bad boy. You don't have to disclose if you enjoy the hairstyle of the guy bagging your groceries at Whole Foods but you should disclose that work for the company, receive options, are privvy to insider information, own stock, and are the main decision maker about acquisitions of other companies.
Here is a link to what looks like Rebodeb's (John Mackey's secret identity) last entry on Yahoo Finance and all the comments of real people that follow.
As a matter of fact if the CEO had disclosed his entire relationship with the company and used his real name, I'm wondering if that meant he was doing anything wrong. I mean, you have this great job being in charge of the worlds largest organically, focused and healthy lifestyle food market. You have credibility and a great platform for changing the way people think about their behavior and the planet. What do you do? You throw it all away so you can make secret comments defending yourself. What poor judgment. Apologize and give your job to a CEO with good judgment, Mr. Mackey. Stick around on the board because you do have talent for growing a company and you can give good advice to the new CEO about corporate expansion. Please don't give him/her advice on how to use the internet.
Disclosure: I do not own WFMI. I have thought about buying the stock several times but it always seemed too expensive relative to it's growth rate. Besides, supermarkets always end up being low margin in the long run. Would I buy it now? At a trailing P/E of 28, growing earnings and sector domination, the stock is actually starting to get reasonable. I may buy it if the CEO gets in more trouble and his fall causes a drop in the stock price.
More Disclosure: Do I shop at Whole Foods? I don't in Manhattan but I do when I'm elsewhere. In Manhattan there are so many other stores with even better quality, better service, great produce, that are closer, have shorter lines with the exact same sky-high prices. Outside Manhattan: Whole Foods Stores are great.
Ironic and Snarky Disclosure: Am I on the Yahoo Finance Messages Boards? Yes I am. Like John Mackey, I also have a Yahoo pseudonym that is hard to figure out and disguises my identity. My secret pseudonym is either NeubertDave or DavidNeubert. At least on John Mackey's Whole Foods blog he uses his real name. Though the ultimate irony would be if he had someone else write those blogs for him. Link to the Whole Foods FAQ on Mackey's postings on the yahoo message boards.