Whole Foods CEO John Mackey said the “marriage” to Amazon has been challenging for the company in a keynote speech at the American Production and Inventory Control Society 2017 Conference in San Antonio on Sunday.
Mackey has noticed the difference in cultures between the two companies and is finding it hard for both companies to merge smoothly. He also announced that Whole Foods executives are planning a retreat “to figure out how to reconcile our purpose with Amazon’s higher purpose.”
Amazon’s work culture is often described as aggressive, competitive and productivity-driven but also hard working and tough. On the other hand, Whole Foods prides itself as an idealist company that strives towards a “higher purpose” to provide high-quality products and takes great pride in caring for communities.
With such cultural differences it is easy to see why the merger would be difficult. Though, this announcement is no surprise since Fortune Magazine released an article suggesting that the merger could result in a serious culture clash in June.
Mackey was not entirely pessimistic in his presentation saying that Whole Foods is “happy to create a shared identity” with Amazon and that he believes Amazon and Whole Foods are going to “do major stuff together.” He goes on to announce “Amazon’s thinking long term, they’re going to do another round of price reductions.”
Until now, the Amazon and Whole Foods merger has been perceived as a gain for both companies because Amazon can now be a competitor in the grocery business and Whole Foods’ supply chain has improved. Though, these culture differences might prove to be an obstacle.