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The Wall Street Journal reports that “more than a dozen executives and senior managers have left since Amazon acquired Foods last year, according to former employees and recruiters steering them to new jobs. People who have left include leaders of the bakery, produce, sustainability and local-foods divisions.

“Some veterans have left even though higher-ups asked them to stay. Others say they were pushed out after the deal was announced but before it closed, as Whole Foods sought to tighten command.”

While some who have remained say that the two businesses share a strong customer focus, there also is the suggestion that “the distinctive approach that made Whole Foods a natural and organic powerhouse won’t endure under Amazon’s ownership.

The story goes on to say that “some cited the two organizations’ fundamental differences on issues such as promoting and grooming talent, and whether to focus more on needs of customers or employees. They have noted pressure to put on a good face for Amazon executives, including among the rank and file during town hall meetings.

“Some suppliers said new hires at Whole Foods have been slow to master the chain’s techniques for sourcing and marketing healthful foods. Many executives who have left, meanwhile, are consulting for other natural-food companies and interviewing with other retailers, taking that knowledge to competitors.”
KC's View:
This is, I think, a delicate balance. Of course there will be defections, but Amazon/Whole Foods has to hope that there will mostly be by execs who have a “we do it that way because we’ve always done it that way” mindset. It isn’t an easy task to remake Whole Foods’ operations in such a way that they make the company both more effective and efficient while retaining and even enhancing core values.