Whole Foods Market’s New CEO, Jason Buechel, Takes the Reigns
Whole Foods Market Co-founder and CEO, John Mackey, passed the torch to Jason Buechel on September 1st. In a companywide letter, Buechel said the retailer plans to open 50 new stores that raise the bar of retail excellence with the highest quality standards in the business and the best natural and organic shopping experience in the world. Buechel gave some insights into his background, including his childhood on a cheesemaking and dairy farm in rural Wisconsin, and a love of food that drew him to a career with Whole Foods Market. The company’s message resonated with him when he joined the company in 2013 as Chief Information Officer: a Purpose to Nourish People and the Planet. “It’s not just writing on the wall,” Buechel says. “It’s alive in our stores, embedded in our culture, and it serves as our north star. I am excited and honored to carry that forward as your Chief Executive Officer.”
Throughout the summer, Buechel traveled the U.S. on what he called a “Whole Conversations Tour,” where he met with team members in each division. “We visited stores, volunteered in our communities and deepened connections with our suppliers and foundations,” Buechel said. “We brainstormed ideas to shape Whole Foods Market’s future.” That in-person touch is something he wants to continue. All stores, offices, and facilities will be visited by a member of the executive team next year. He confirmed plans to grow the company’s 534 store footprint with 50 new stores. Over the summer, the company opened stores in the Los Angeles suburb of Culver City, California, Grand Rapids, Michigan; Woodcliff, New Jersey; Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood; and the NoMad neighborhood of New York City. He closed by thanking the Whole Foods Market team members and his predecessor. “I am forever grateful for your support, mentorship and friendship and, in particular, for John Mackey, whose vision and leadership pioneered the natural and organic food industry, who has taught me so much about leading with purpose and who entrusted me with this opportunity.” Buechel said he will share his strategy for the next chapter of Whole Foods Market in early 2023.