Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Whole Foods Market Co-CEO Walter Robb to Headline “Capitalism with a Conscience” Event

Wake Forest University Schools of Business will welcome Walter Robb, Co-CEO of Whole Foods Market Inc., to campus on Tuesday, January 31 to discuss “Capitalism with a Conscience.”

The event is part of the Broyhill Leading Out Loud Executive Lecture Series and co-sponsored by the BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism. Additional support and planning assistance has been provided by the Wake Forest Schools of Business Center for Retail Innovation, the Wake Forest University Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability, and the Net Impact Chapter of Wake Forest University.

Robb’s presentation will outline the Whole Foods Market business model that embraces both profitability and social responsibility. He will then transition into a passionate conversation about the social responsibility role of business.

“Our aesthetics and core values have remained the same, and that’s one of the keys to our success. We set a lot of ideals for the company Whole Foods Market that other companies were adopted over the years. We put together a terrific group of people, and many of those have gone on to become great leaders in the company,” says Robb. “Our aesthetics and core values have remained the same. Combined with a willingness to work hard and try new ideas, the stores are growing organically.”

Ayn Rand objectivism supporter John Allison, Distinguished Professor of Practice and retired Chairman of BB&T, will join Robb in a panel discussion moderated by Aman Singh, Editorial Director of The Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire, a provider of corporate responsibility (CSR) news and research.

“Capitalism with a Conscience: Reflections on the Whole Foods Market Journey” is Tuesday, January 31 at 4:00 p.m. in the Worrell Professional Center Auditorium, room 1312 on the Wake Forest University campus. The event is free and open to the public. Wake Forest students and alumni will have priority seating.

Robb joined Whole Foods Market in 1991 operating the Mill Valley, California store until he became president of the Northern Pacific Region in 1993 where he grew the region from two to 17 stores. He became Executive Vice-President of Operations in 2000, Chief Operating Officer in 2001 and Co-President in 2004. Now as Co-CEO, Robb oversees six regions and is on the Whole Planet Foundation Board of Directors. An avid organic advocate, Robb is on the Advisory Board for the Organic Center for Education and Promotion. He is also on the Board of Regents for the University of the Pacific and is the Board Chair for the Whole Kids Foundation.

Allison began his service with BB&T in 1971 and has managed a wide variety of responsibilities throughout the bank. He became president of BB&T in 1987 and was elected Chairman and CEO in July 1989. During Mr. Allison’s tenure as CEO from 1989 to 2008, BB&T grew from $4.5 billion to $152 billion in assets. In March 2009, he joined the faculty of Wake Forest University Schools of Business as Distinguished Professor of Practice.

Singh is Editorial Director of CSRwire.com, a provider of corporate social responsibility news and research. She has written for The Wall Street Journal, Forbes.com, and triplepundit.com, and also maintains her own blog, In Good Company: Singh on CSR, where she writes about CSR, sustainability, and corporate culture. Aman is the founder of advisory firm Singh Solutions and an adviser on CSR strategy and communications.

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