AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 02, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Board of Directors of Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFM) today announced changes to the leadership structure, including transitioning from co-Chief Executive Officers to a sole Chief Executive Officer, with co-Founder John Mackey to serve in that capacity. Walter Robb will remain on the Company's Board of Directors and continue to serve as Chairman for both Whole Kids Foundation and Whole Cities Foundation. He will officially transition his co-CEO responsibilities on December 31, 2016, and will continue to be a senior advisor to the Company. Robb has served the company for 25 years, most recently as co-Chief Executive Officer for the previous six years. "Under Walter's leadership, Whole Foods Market has grown from 12 to 464 stores in three countries. He has been instrumental in accelerating investment in our digital strategy and technology transformation to meet the ever-changing retail landscape," said Dr. John Elstrott, Chairman of Whole Foods Market's Board of Directors. "In the past year Walter and John have hired five new senior executives, and have adopted and made significant progress on their nine point strategic plan, putting the company in a strong foundational position for winning." "It is impossible to convey what Walter has done for Whole Foods Market since he joined us in 1991," said co-Founder and co-Chief Executive Officer John Mackey. "His incredible passion for retail and sense of the customer makes him the most extraordinary retailer I've had the privilege to work with. During his 25 years of leadership, Walter has been an advocate for the Whole Foods Market culture and a champion for our Team Members. His genuine love for our mission and our Team Members truly reflects what it means to be a conscious leader." Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Glenda Flanagan, the longest ever serving female Chief Financial Officer in the Fortune 500, will retire from the role after 29 years at the end of the 2017 fiscal year. She will continue to serve the Company in a senior advisor capacity.