Whole Foods has lost more than a dozen executives and senior managers since Amazon.com acquired it last summer, The Wall Street Journal has reported, citing former employees and recruiters helping them look for new jobs. Management departures are common when a company is bought, but one former employee told WSJ that “culturally, it’s been a rough start.” Whole Foods CEO and Co-Founder John Mackey and Steve Kessel, an Amazon senior vice president who oversees the grocer, told WSJ in separate statements that Whole Foods has thrived since the acquisition. “We … have maintained our distinctive culture while embracing many of Amazon’s leadership principles,” Mackey said. “We’re off to a great start, and look forward to many years of future success together,” added Kessel.
Total Retail’s Take: It’s not surprising that there are tensions at Whole Foods’ corporate headquarters following the company’s acquisition by Amazon last June. When a company is acquired, it’s natural for the employees being taken over to feel uneasiness and uncertainty about their futures. While it has generally been a success, the acquisition hasn’t been without its challenges. Tensions, for example, have grown between Whole Foods and suppliers, forcing the grocer to call a summit with them. One point of contention up for discussion is a new servicing fee, which is part of Whole Foods’ efforts to centralize its merchandising.