Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Retail Memo: Whole Foods Market, Inc. CEO John Mackey Named One of the Global-75 Most Influential People For the 21st Century By Esquire Magazine

John Mackey, the 55-year old CEO of Whole Foods Market, Inc., has been named one of the 75 most influential people in the world for the 21st century by Esquire magazine.

Mackey is featured in Esquire's September issue, along with 74 others from throughout the globe, who Esquire says are the pick of the crop of individuals who have been, are, and will be the most influential people of the 21st century.

Here's what Esquire writes about Whole Foods' John Mackey in its entry about him as one of the most influential 75:

September 23, 2008,
John Mackey: Chairman and CEO, Whole Foods Market, 55 · Austin

"John Mackey didn't invent the organic-food movement. He didn't even invent the original Whole Foods Market, which started as a single store in New Orleans in 1974, four years before Mackey and a partner started their own natural-foods store in Austin. We're okay with that. Some people's importance comes from their innovations; others matter because they are popularizers--they take a small idea and make it big and mainstream. And in so doing, they change the world. That's John Mackey.

He took a cult concept embraced primarily by foodies and hippies--that fresh, local, organic food was better for you than the stuff you bought from the Safeway--and turned it into a national religion. Now, of course, the word organic is being stretched well beyond the original definition of pesticide-free produce, Wal-Mart (!) is diving into the business with both feet, and even the Chinese are growing food that is technically organic--which they then ship to the United States. In the coming century, it is not inconceivable that--due to John Mackey--most of the food we eat will be organic and fresh, if not necessarily always local."

[Here is a link to the entry on the Esquire magazine website.]

John Mackey is the only member of the retail food and grocery industry (in the whole world) named by Esquire to its 75 most influential people of the 21st century list. In fact, he's the only one we can find who represents the food and grocery industry in general -- which isn't so bad since after all we are talking a total of 75 "most influential" people from every field and walk out of all the extremely influential people on the planet.

Mackey is listed in Esquire on its first page of the top 75. He shares that first page with the American dynamic duo of politics, Bill and Hillary Clinton; Member of parliament David Cameron, the leader of Britain's Conservative Party and the man many are calling the next Prime Minister; the California-based novelist and writer Michael Chabon; and former Russian President and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

The others, in addition to John Mackey, rounding out the first ten listed are: Ratan Tata, the chairman of Tata group, India's largest corporation; theoretical physicist Lisa Randall; microbiologist and entrepreneur Greg Ventner; Tony Hayward, the CEO of British Petroleum Co.; and the collective "The Future of the World," which Esquire describes in that entry in this way: "Think we're all going to hell in a handbasket? Think things can't possibly get any better? The 43-year-old political economist and environmental activist begs to differ. You can find out who that 43-year old political economist and environmental activist is here. The one Esquire depicts as representing the future of the world.

[You can view the list of all 75 of Esquire's most influential people of the 21rst century here.]

[Additionally, you can view a slideshow of the 75 here.]

Below is what the editor's of Esquire say about there search and naming of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century:

The 75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century

"We set out to find them across every field of endeavor, the people who are bending history right now. It was an impossible task, but the result is a determined, defiant, earnest, brilliant, philanthropic, space-going, smoking-hot group, and together they are writing the first chapter of the rest of our lives."

For Whole Foods' CEO John Mackey, at this point in time in the 21st century, he finds himself and his company recently experiencing (in its latest quarter) a 42% plunge in net income, the lowest stock share price in modern history for Whole Foods, having recently has to fire 40-plus headquarters employees, and with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission continuing to breath down the grocery chain's neck regarding its acquisition last year of rival Wild Oats Markets, a deal Mackey says he wouldn't do again if he had a chance to rewrite history.

Never before in his trail-blazing food retailing career does John Mackey need all that influence more than he does right now.

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