The New York Times has an interview with Whole Foods founder/CEO John Mackey in its weekly "Corner Office" column.
• "Amazon has been really respectful of the Whole Foods culture. They’ve let us be ourselves. At the same time, there are things that Amazon does better than Whole Foods does. One of the reasons we wanted to do this merger is we saw Amazon as a technology leader, and Whole Foods was just a follower. Since Covid struck, our online sales have tripled. Could we have done that prior to Amazon? No way. From the very first day we merged with them, they pushed us to make the changes we needed to be more effective at online delivery.
"Another thing Amazon has changed is that our culture at Whole Foods tended to be intuitive, managing more by the gut. Amazon is very much a company that manages through data. And if you don’t have good data and good arguments, then that’s the end of the discussion. That’s been a positive change for our company because we are making more data-driven decisions than we made previously, and, therefore, I think we’re making better decisions."
• "There is a larger move in our society toward businesses having a higher purpose besides just making maximizing profits, and taking other stakeholders into account. That being said, I think there’s fundamental misunderstanding. This is not a win-lose framework. Purpose and profits are not opposites. They’re quite compatible. In fact, having a higher purpose can result in higher profits, and having a stakeholder philosophy doesn’t mean that the investors start making less money. It means that business creates strategies where the customers are getting better prices and higher quality, the employees are getting higher pay and better benefits, suppliers are getting better deals and investors are making higher profits.
Profits aren’t evil. Profits are good. Profits are what funds progress in our society."
You can read the column here.