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“I welcome the question, because it gives us a chance to have a dialogue about this myth that if you eat healthy, it has to be expensive, or that eating healthy is only for certain people,” he said. “That’s just bull.”
Whole Foods also has received pushback at times for the political views of some of its leaders. In 2009, company co-founder and co-CEO John Mackey made national news — and sparked scattered boycotts — after he wrote an op-ed piece criticizing President Obama’s health care plan.
Robb said the fallout over Mackey’s health care comments made them more careful as company leaders.
“I think we both recognized that — being a public company CEO — that times have changed and it isn’t so much about what you individually think as you’re representing the company and you have lots of shareholders and stakeholders, and that has to be taken into account,” he said. “So I think both of us are a lot more careful about when we speak, that we’re speaking on behalf of the company, and if we are speaking individually, being very clear that that’s the case.”
As co-CEOs, he said, “we’re not just responsible for our own opinions but we’re responsible for the welfare of almost 80,000 [employees] and that we have a responsibility to them and our stakeholders.”