Two executives from Leonard Green & Partners have joined the board of directors at US retailer Whole Foods Market following the private equity firm's investment in the business.

Whole Foods said yesterday (2 December) that Leonard Green managing partner Jonathan Sokoloff and Jonathan Seiffer, a partner at the private equity firm, are among four new directors joining the company's board.

The appointments follow last month's deal that saw Green Equity Investors, an affiliate of Leonard Green a& Partners, buy a 17% stake in Whole Foods for US$425m. The transaction was also sealed yesterday.

Stephanie Kugelman, chairman of consultants A Second Opinion, and Kip Tendell, chairman and CEO of retailer The Container Store, are also joining the Whole Foods board, taking the number of directors to ten.

"In this challenging economic environment, we feel fortunate to have this fresh addition of intellectual capital," Whole Foods chairman and CEO John Mackey said.

The economic downturn has hit Whole Foods, which sells a range of natural and organic products, in recent months.

For the year to 30 September, Whole Foods posted net income of $114.5m, down from $182.7m a year earlier. Sales stood at $7.93bn, up from $6.59bn a year earlier.