Whole Foods' CEO Apologizes; Board Launches Probe

AUSTIN, Texas - Just a week after the Federal Trade Commission revealed that the co-founder, chairman and c.e.o., Whole Foods Market, John Mackey, had made questionable postings about the company's financials, as well as that of its competitor, Wild Oats Markets, on a Yahoo chat board, Mackey issued a public apology and the chain's board said it launch its own investigation into the growing debacle.

The company also confirmed that the Securities and Exchange Commission had contacted it about an informal investigation into Mackey's conduct. Whole Foods said it would fully cooperate with the SEC probe.

Meanwhile, Mackey sounded contrite in a statement issued by his company. "I sincerely apologize to all Whole Foods Market stakeholders for my error in judgment in anonymously participating on online financial message boards," Mackey said. "I am very sorry and I ask our stakeholders to please forgive me."

Whole Foods' board of directors said it has formed a special committee to conduct an independent internal investigation into the online financial message board postings related to Whole Foods and Wild Oats. The committee has retained the firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP to advise it during its investigation, Whole Foods said.

The board said it will further refrain from comment until its internal investigation is completed.
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