I made my retirement announcement internally a year before I left Whole Foods Market. In addition to transitioning responsibilities to the next CEO, Jason Buechel, I wanted time to focus my energy on doing things that would be most meaningful to Whole Foods.
I spent my remaining months as CEO visiting stores across our 11 regions to spend time with as many Team Members as I could. It was an incredibly amazing and emotional experience that’s hard to put into words, but I was completely blown away. Blown away by how beautiful and vibrant our stores looked. By the creativity, passion, and care that our Team Members practice daily serving our customers. But more than anything, I was blown away by the amount of love that I felt. Our Team Members love Whole Foods, and we love our Team Members. I think that’s a testament to the fact that together, Whole Foods has created more than a business – we created a very large family.
I loved hearing the personal stories of Team Members during my regional farewell tour and was so touched by the conversations we shared. There were many displays of appreciation for Whole Foods and thoughtful notes shared with me. It was beautiful and made saying goodbye a little bit easier. Team Members at every level are what make Whole Foods the amazing company that it is today.
I received this book with hundreds of notes from Team Members across the company as a goodbye gift. I was so moved by the expressions of gratitude! The truth is, everything that Whole Foods has accomplished in its first 44 years is a result of the collective passion and talent of Team Members.