Whole Foods Tells Execs to Nix Online Chatting about Business

AUSTIN, Texas -- Whole Foods Market, Inc. here is reportedly telling its executives to shut up online when it comes to business matters. The supernatural retailer's board is said to have altered its employee Code of Conduct to officially ban top executives and directors from posting messages about Whole Foods, its competitors, or vendors on Internet forums that aren't sponsored by the retailer.

Whole Foods is apparently imposing the gag order after Internet postings by its c.e.o., John Mackey, came under scrutiny from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

In October, the board of directors completed its investigation of posts Mackey made on financial message boards between 1999 and 2006 concerning Whole Foods and its rivals. Whole Foods turned over its findings to the SEC.

Mackey's posts were revealed earlier this summer as Whole Foods was attempting to buy Wild Oats Markets. That deal was finalized for $565 million in August.

The revised employee policy applies to the company director, executive team members, global v.p., regional president and regional v.p., according to reports.

They cannot post to any non-company chat room, message board, or blog comments about Whole Foods, its competitors or vendors "under their name, anonymously, under a screen name, or communicating through another person."
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