Whole Foods Market has given its backing to chief executive John Mackey after a company investigation into his past online postings about recent acquisition Wild Oats Markets.

Mackey became embroiled in controversy this summer after the revelation that he used a pseudonym to attack Wild Oats on Internet financial forums.

The Whole Foods chairman and CEO was outed as “rahodeb”, who from 1999 to 2006 claimed that Wild Oats’ shares were over-priced and speculated about the company’s future prospects. The disclosure came to light in July as Whole Foods was battling with US regulators to buy Wild Oats.

Whole Foods triumphed in its bid to buy fellow US organic retailer Wild Oats in August but Mackey’s past criticisms of its new acquisition still remained the subject of a company investigation, as well as a probe from US share watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Commission.

However, Whole Foods said on Friday (5 October) that it had completed its investigation and had handed over its findings to the SEC. “The board has reaffirmed its support of John Mackey. The company and the board intend to cooperate fully with the SEC in completing its related inquiry,” Whole Foods said.

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