What had been speculation for at least a year turned to reality Monday when the board of directors of Market Basket, Tewksbury, Mass., decided not to re-elect Arthur T. Demoulas as company president and CEO.
Also removed were VP Joseph Rockwell and longtime Operations Director Bill Marsden.
The board held elections on June 23 and selected Felicia Thornton and James Gooch as Market Basket COO and chief administration officer, respectively. Both will serve as co-CEOs and report to the board of directors. Both had served as consultants to the company prior to the June 23 election.
The board said Arthur T. Demoulas will not retain any management responsibilities but will remain a shareholder of the company.
In a statement, the board said, “The board believes this new management team will enable Market Basket to maximize its potential and pave the way for continued success.”
Marsden said, “The board’s action is driven by greed, pure and simple. Arthur T. Demoulas continued the tradition of his father, promising customers ‘More for Your Dollar.’ He was fired (June 23) after he built the most successful supermarket chain in the Northeast, one of the top in the country by most metrics. He is as committed to his customers as he is to his employees, his vendors, service providers and the communities in which we serve. He implemented a 4 percent across-the-board price cut for 2014 at a time when people needed it. In reaction, some board members threatened his job and litigation, so concerned were they that this would cut into the company’s profit.
“Along with Arthur T. Demoulas, I was also fired as was Joe Rockwell, vice president of grocery. Combined we have more than 110 years of service to the company. Our crime was our commitment to Arthur T. Demoulas, the employees and the promise to customers to always honor the Market Basket commitment to high-quality and value.”
Market Basket employees planned to rally at a Chelsea, Mass., store on June 24 to protest the firing. An employee website, WeAreMarketBasket.com, is aligned with the ousted CEO.
Nearly a year ago, Arthur T. Demoulas escaped an anticipated termination during a board meeting. Outside the meeting, more than 2,000 employees rallied to his support.
The Demoulas family has internally feuded over company management and control for decades. Currently, Arthur T. Demoulas is opposed by his cousin Arthur S. Demoulas. At issue are disbursement of company profits, company expansion plans and operating procedures, including a 4 percent discount for all shoppers on all purchases.