AUSTIN, Texas (September 25, 2008) – Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFMI), the world's leading organic and natural foods supermarket, announces the promotion of its Southern Pacific Regional President, Michael Besancon, to the newly created position of Senior Global Vice President of Purchasing, Distribution and Marketing for the Company.
Starting this week, Besancon will report directly to Co-Presidents and Chief Operating Officers A.C. Gallo and Walter Robb, and will be responsible for leading the development and execution of strategies for procurement, distribution and marketing of products, which includes bringing the next generation of exciting offerings to Whole Foods Market shoppers.
“Having worked in every aspect of the natural foods business from soup to nuts, Michael is far and away the most knowledgeable person on the ‘buy side’ of the business. He has been an outstanding leader at Whole Foods Market for many years and has earned respect throughout the company,” said Robb. “His long-time experience, wisdom and compassion make him a great choice for this new position. A.C. and I are excited to have him assume these new responsibilities.”
With more than 14 years of experience working at Whole Foods Market, Besancon has dedicated 38 years of his career to providing natural and organic foods to a population craving a healthier lifestyle. He served as President for the Southern Pacific region for more than seven years, overseeing operations, marketing and real estate development, profitability and financial growth for stores in Southern California, Arizona, Nevada and Hawaii.
Besancon’s colorful history with Whole Foods Market began in 1994 when he joined the team as Director of Purchasing the Southern Pacific Region. He quickly worked his way up to Regional Vice President in just two years. In 1998 he was promoted to President of Whole Foods Market’s Mid-Atlantic Region, and in 2001 he returned to Los Angeles as President of the Southern Pacific Region.
An entrepreneur and environmental advocate, Besancon currently chairs Whole Foods Market’s National Green Mission Task Force, helping the Company lead the charge for environmentally sustainable practices such as promoting sustainable agriculture, store recycling and composting programs. His accomplishments of note on this front include helping secure the largest renewable energy credit purchase in U.S. history to offset 100 percent of electricity at all Whole Foods Market’s U.S. establishments and leading the charge to discontinue the use of plastic grocery carryout bags in stores worldwide by Earth Day, April 22, 2008.
“I am really excited to put my range of experience to work at the global level,” said Besancon.
Prior to joining Whole Foods Market, Besancon worked in many areas of the natural products industry including retail, sales and brokering, manufacturing, and distribution. In 1970, he opened and operated an all-vegetarian natural foods store and restaurant, Follow Your Heart. It was one of the first of its kind on the West Coast and it is still open today.
Besancon started his new position on Monday, September 22, 2008.