Authors: By Jay Coen Gilbert and Alexander McCobin
Image: Whole Foods Market

Attempted Takeover of Whole Foods Provides Lessons for Leaders of Companies That Value All Stakeholders

“One of the most visible examples of the rising power of short-term shareholder activism was that of Jana Partners against Whole Foods Market last year. What the storied grocer did right for more than 30 years prior, and what its co-founder and CEO, John Mackey, wished he had done in advance of the activist siege, provide three valuable lessons for business leaders:

  1. Companies built on a higher purpose beyond just profit often become industry leaders;
  2. Be careful choosing investors or risk losing your dream; and
  3. Ingraining that purpose into a company’s legal structure can potentially stave off even the most aggressive activist shareholders.”
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