CEO of American Egg Board, Joann Ivy recently stepped down from her position that was set to end December 31st. The early resignation is believed to have happened because of a release of emails showing Ivy “trying to stop the sale” of Hampton Creek’s product “Just Mayo,” a vegan mayonnaise sold at Whole Foods. The emails showed the board discussing the companies name “Just Mayo” and whether to report it to the FDA for being misleading. Mike Spencer, who is a leader at AEB(American Egg Board) joked about killing Hampton Creeks CEO while many others chimed in with jokes like putting a “gangster-style” hit on the CEO. Emails also showed Ivy accepting a consultant offer to keep “Just Mayo” off of the shelves.
The USDA runs the AEB board and stated they encourage a level playing field to promote all agricultural endeavors. They also stated they don’t “condone any effort to limit competing products in commerce.” The USDA is working on an administrative review of the American Egg Board and says with all this information it will take some time to complete. I find it interesting that the company behind the controversy is the one investigating it.
In a statement about the investigation of the American Egg Board, Hampton Creek Chief Executive Josh Tetrick said “Some, not all, of these check off programs act in a way that is not aligned with building a healthier and more sustainable food system. It’s our hope that this is the first step toward reforming them. The actions that were in the case against Hampton Creek are actually against building a food system that’s for everyone.”
AEB has still not put out a statement or posted anything about the resignation on any social media but maybe their CEO stepping down was that statement. From the public relations standpoint I think Ivy was right in stepping down because it shows that the company is taking action in relation to the investigation.