Mackey announced his intentions and successor in a letter posted on the company website, noting it’s “time to begin to transition my role as CEO to the next generation of leadership. I have thought long and hard about this,” noting it’s “still surreal to write” that he’ll leave the company he started 43 years ago.
“As a co-founder of Whole Foods, I’ve often explained my relationship to the company with a parent-child metaphor,” Mackey wrote in his retirement announcement letter. “As a parent, I have always loved Whole Foods with all my heart.
“I have done my best to instill strong values, a clear sense of higher purpose beyond profits, and a loving culture that allows the company and all our interdependent stakeholders to flourish,” he wrote. “All parents reach a time when they must let go and trust that the values imparted will live on within their children. That time has nearly come for me and for Whole Foods.”
Mackey calls Buechel “a true servant leader and champion of Whole Foods’ culture and values,” in his letter, adding, “He will lead the company into the future.”
“Jason was my personal choice to replace me as the CEO, and I’m pleased Amazon leadership agreed that he is the right person for the role,” Mackey wrote.
Buechel came to Whole Foods in 2013 as global VP and chief information officer before being promoted to EVP in 2015 and COO in 2019.
Amazon acquired Whole Foods in 2017. Whole Foods has more than 500 stores in the U.S., Canada and U.K.
On Aug. 30, Amazon added a $9.95 delivery fee for Prime customers shopping at Whole Foods for deliveries in the areas of Boston; Chicago; Manchester, N.H.; Portland, Maine; and Providence, R.I.