Opening Session Featured Speaker: Walter Robb
Walter Robb’s passion for organic, all-natural produce began over 40 years ago, gaining experience as a retailer, farmer and consultant throughout his career. As the former Co-CEO of the Fortune 500 Company Whole Foods Market, Robb continues to strive to provide accessible, healthy products to consumers across the country.
Robb’s long and varied entrepreneurial history began in 1976 when he opened the local grocery store Mountain Marketplace in Weaverville, California. Over 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, as Executive Vice President of Operations and 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.
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.
Robb is an ardent organic advocate; he 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.
He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University in 1976 and is a proud father and grandfather with two sons, a daughter, and four grandchildren.