Mackey said on the Whole Foods Web site Thursday the Whole Foods chairmanship has been a title with no responsibilities or authority since John Elstrott became lead director in January 2001.
"Despite this shift in responsibilities, Whole Foods, along with many other companies with combined CEO/chairman roles, has been targeted by corporate governance activists for several years now seeking a separation of these roles," Mackey said.
Mackey said Elstrott would assume the post of chairman of the board, while he will retain his position as the company's chief executive officer.
Mackey also confirmed he would remain a member of the Whole Foods Market board.
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