New York, NY — On Wednesday, Whole Foods Market hired five new directors after having switched to a new company-wide operational plan. According to Reuters, Jana Partners, an activist hedge fund that owns 8.3 percent of the company, is concerned about the lack of grocery experience among these new board members. None of whom were directors that Jana proposed to the company last month. The backgrounds of these directors are in companies including Foot Locker, Panera Bread and Best Buy. Jana was in favor of the overhaul but hoped that the company would hire more people with experience in grocery.
Whole Foods Market’s new board chair, Gabrielle Sulzberger seems satisfied with the overhaul, noting the high operating and retail experience of each of the new board members. Sulzberger said,”These new directors are value creators and recognized leaders in their respective areas of expertise.”
Credit Suisse, like Jana Partners, is unimpressed in the new directors’ lack of grocery experience saying,”We see the moves as a step in the right direction, but were disappointed by the lack of food retail experience among the new board members.”
The dispute between Jana Partners and Whole Foods Market did not end in settlement, which means Jana can still push for its director candidates at next year’s annual meeting.