With all eyes on Whole Foods as speculation about a potential buyout continues to stir, the retailer has made a new strategic hire, adding Heather Stern as its General Counsel and Global Vice President of Legal Affairs. In Stern’s most recent role, she was in charge of leading the legal strategy behind Office Depot’s 2013 buyout of OfficeMax.
In Stern’s over 11-year tenure with Office Depot, most recently as Vice President and Associate General Counsel, she was tasked an array of business litigation matters, including bankruptcy, breach of contract, and real estate litigation. What’s most notable about this position, however, is her role assisting in the regulatory approval process for Office Depot's merger with OfficeMax, and later, the preliminary injunction trial for Staples attempted acquisition of the company.
And this may be right up Whole Foods’ alley. As we’ve previously reported, the company’s future has been somewhat up in the air over after following activist investor Jana Partners LLC grabbed up a nearly 9 percent stake in the company. In what the Wall Street Journal says could be a signal that Jana is ready to get aggressive in its approach to shake up the retailer, the investor has lined up potential new board nominees, including industry analyst Meredith Adler, former Harris Teeter CEO Thomas Dickson, GAP turnaround orchestrater Glenn Murphy, entrepreneur Mark Bittman, and former CMO for Safeway Diane Dietz—who was part of Jana’s shakeup of Safeway in 2013.
Will Stern be the next link in the chain for Whole Foods’ potential merger and acquisition ambitions? Deli Market News will continue to bring you the latest updates.