Whole Foods (WFM) is enlisting a new crop of talent to join its executive ranks—including the woman who fielded pointed questions lobbed at embattled blood diagnostics firm Theranos.
The health food chain announced the hiring of Brooke Buchanan, who was vice president of communications at Theranos until her departure in June, as Global VP of Communications in a blog post. The company also announced that former Wal-Mart (WMT) and Sam’s Club exec Sonya Gafsi Oblisk has been appointed global VP of marketing and Starbucks (SBUX) talent guru Martin Tracey will head up human resources.
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Buchanan was at Theranos for less than a year—a tenure marked by the company’s rapid fall from grace amid mounting scrutiny of its technology’s accuracy and CEO Elizabeth Holmes’ penchant for secrecy. She was forced to address a series of debacles that hit the firm during that time, including lawsuits, Congressional inquiries, and regulatory heat.
Prior to joining Theranos, Buchanan had served in multiple corporate PR roles, including at Wal-Mart, and was Senator John McCain’s communications director during his presidential bid in 2008.
Whole Foods isn’t in nearly the same precarious position as Theranos is. But Buchanan will still have her work cut out for her. The chain has been facing increasing pressure from cheaper competitors in the health food and groceries space and has seen share prices fall more than 13% year-to-date.
CEO John Mackey’s turnaround plan for Whole Foods has been met with mixed reviews, with Goldman Sachs (GS) arguing that its mission to build out a cheaper 365 value chain comes too late to do much good.