Whole Foods Market named a new chief financial officer and five independent directors who were not on activist investor Jana Partners' slate. Fred Katayama reports.
Whole Foods named a new chief financial officer and five independent directors to its board. The high-end grocer is going through a shakeup. One of its big investors, Jana Partners, has pressured Whole Foods to change to better compete with rivals such as Wal-Mart, Amazon, and Blue Apron. It also wants improved stock performance. Whole Foods shares have fallen steadily since peaking in 2013, but traded higher on the news. The five new independent directors, however, are not on Jana's slate. And a source tells Reuters the activist investor is not happy. Michael Flaherty covers the story for Reuters: (SOUNDBITE) MICHAEL FLAHERTY, CORRESPONDENT, REUTERS, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Jana is worried about the operational, the actual grocery operational experience amongst the new directors. They also did not strike any kind of legal settlement with the company, so Jana can continue to pressure the company. The next annual meeting is in February. Jana still has those four nominees and could, potentially, throw them forward to shake up the board yet again." Jana has an unlikely supporter on its side - mutual fund Neuberger Berman - which owns about three percent of Whole Foods. Separately, the company posted its seventh straight quarterly same-store sales decline when it reported earnings on Wednesday.