Amazon Loading Whole Foods With Its Own Executives

Whole Foods Chief Executive John Mackey may still maintain his role following last year’s acquisition by Amazon — but he is far from independent, reporting to executives from his new parent company.

CNBC, citing an organization chart, reported that Mackey works with Rosanna Godden and Heather Dystrup-Chiang, two Amazon executives, to make sure the integration is smooth. What’s more, instead of reporting to Amazon’s head of worldwide consumer business Jeff Wilke, Mackey and the two Amazon executives are overseen by Steve Kessel, who is in charge of all the physical store operations. That management structure, noted CNBC, shows that Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos is stacking the team with veterans at the company as it integrates Whole Foods into the broader strategy at the eCommerce giant. Kessel is in charge of all physical stores, including its bookstore and Amazon Go. The report noted that in March, Godden became vice president of strategic business integration at Whole Foods after working at Amazon since 2012. Meanwhile, Dystruo-Chiang, who has been employed at Amazon for seven years, is the director of product management for Whole Foods.

Ever since Amazon acquired Whole Foods, the combined company has been busy integrating the businesses. At the end of May it took a further step toward that end by expanding the number of states where Amazon Prime for Whole Foods is offered — it is now available in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Kansas City, Missouri, Louisiana, New Mexico, northern Nevada, northern California, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah. Going forward, Prime members can look forward to a 10 percent discount off sale items throughout the stores, plus other discounts as they happen upon certain products. Shoppers in Prime-ready stores today, for example, can pick up a $6 rotisserie chicken or a 6 oz. container of raspberries for $2.50. For some very select customers — in Austin, Dallas, Sacramento and San Francisco — Whole Foods-shopping Prime members can combine their discounts with free two-hour grocery delivery on orders of $35 or more. That program, according to Amazon, is also due for expansion this year. For Whole Foods shoppers, further discounting is available with the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa, which offers an additional 5 percent cash back.


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