- Former Co-CEO of the Fortune 500 company Whole Foods Market, where he oversaw Operations, Purchasing, Marketing, Distribution and Quality Standards
- Sold his local grocery store to Whole Foods Market in 1991, joining the team as a local owner and operator before moving up the chain of command to President and Co-COO, where he oversaw the operations of 6 of the 12 regions
- In 2017, Amazon acquired Whole Foods for $13.7 billion
- Serves on the Board of Directors of The Container Store, Union Square Hospitality Group, FoodMaven and HeatGenie
- Served on the Board of Directors of the Organic Trade Association and the Organic Center for Education and Promotion
Former Co-CEO, Whole Foods Market
Walter Robb’s passion for organic, all-natural produce began over 40 years ago, starting on a farm, and leading him through various jobs as a retailer, business owner, consultant, and eventually to Co-CEO of the Fortune 500 Company Whole Foods Market.
Through his board positions at organizations such as FoodMaven, the Organic Trade Association, the Organic Center for Education and Promotion, and others, Robb continues to strive toward providing accessible, healthy products to consumers across the country.
Robb’s long and varied entrepreneurial career began in 1976 when he opened the local grocery store Mountain Marketplace in Weaverville, California. 15 years later he sold the store to Whole Foods, joining the team as the local owner and operator. Robb’s savvy business expertise was recognized and two years later he was promoted to President of the Northwest Pacific Region.
From there, Robb gradually climbed the chain of command to the roles of Executive Vice President of Operations, Chief Operating Officer, and Co-President. From 2010 through 2016, Walter served as co-CEO alongside Whole Foods founder John Mackey. Within the role he oversaw the operations of six of Whole Foods Market’s twelve regions, as well as purchasing, marketing, distribution, and quality standards.
An ardent organic advocate Robb works his own organic garden and has served on the Board of Directors of the Organic Trade Association and the Organic Center for Education and Promotion.
In late 2013, Robb was appointed director of The Container Store. He currently sits on the Whole Planet Foundation Board of Directors and the Board of Regents for the University of the Pacific. He serves as Chairman of the Board for the Whole Kids Foundation and on the Board of Directors for the Retail Industry Leaders Association. He also sits on the board of FoodMaven, an online marketplace and logistics company bringing agility and flexibility to the U.S. food system.
Robb graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University in 1976 and is a proud father and grandfather with two sons, a daughter, and four grandchildren.
Walter was fantastic! Absolutely enthralled the audience and delivered a great conversation and got people thinking and kept them talking long after he was gone. Couldn't be happier! He was incredibly gracious and a REALLY nice guy.
It was truly great. Not many people realize that “corporations” were invented to shield liability for the guys building the early railroads. They were not organized around the concept of “shareholder return” then, but rather provided a non-governmental vehicle for actually accomplishing a public good. Whole Foods epitomize all of those early notions of success. Thanks again for your true words of wisdom.
Leadership Howard County
He simply hit it out of the park. He was by far the best speaker we have ever hired. Personally I have never worked with a keynote who took so much time to make sure he got it right and connect with the local audience.
Pueblo Economic Development Corporation
Our session with Walter was today and it was absolutely fantastic. It was clear that Walter put quite a bit of work into tailoring his discussion for us. He even incorporated several surprise pieces such as videotaped advice for Quest from leaders he knows at other organizations. It was truly beyond what we could’ve hoped for and we are so appreciative of his extra effort. It will help our organization immensely as we go into 2015 and beyond. He was a HUGE hit with our leadership.
We looked for a compelling story from someone who is changing the technology landscape. Walter delivered that and more. He engaged the audience with warmth, humility and humor along with some compelling anecdotes and learnings.
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