NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

July 16, 2013

Family feud could lead to Market Basket CEO's ouster

A boardroom battle for control of the Market Basket grocery store chain has local employees rallying behind current company CEO Arthur T. Demoulas, whose job appears to be in jeopardy.

The controversy is expected to come to a head Thursday morning when the board of directors of Demoulas Supermarkets, Inc., will meet and possibly replace Demoulas with his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas.

For years, the Demoulas family has wrangled over of what has grown into a 71-store grocery chain, which has roots in Lowell but has expanded across Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Arthur T. Demoulas has served as CEO since 2008. Arthur S. Demoulas and other members on his side of the family allege Arthur T. Demoulas has mismanaged the company and ignored instructions from the board, according to various reports.

But yesterday, employees outside Market Basket locations in Haverhill and Londonderry asked customers to sign a petition in support of Arthur T. Demoulas. A similar “Save Market Basket” petition boasts over 35,000 online signatures.

“Arthur T. Demoulas has had my back for 36 years,” said Mark Lemieux, store manager at the Londonderry Market Basket. “And now he needs me. He needs us.”

Lemieux, 52, began working at the grocery chain in 1977 as a bagger. Lemieux said replacing Arthur T. Demoulas will harm the culture of the company, which he said is growing and is bolstered by thousands of motivated employees.

“All he thinks about, all he cares about are his employees and his customers,” said Lemieux. “I’m not looking forward to a change.”

A call yesterday to Arthur S. Demoulas’ Boston-based lawyer was not returned.

Justine Griffin, a spokesman for Arthur T. Demoulas, wrote in a statement yesterday that Market Basket has remained a regional leader in a competitive industry, in part, by putting its customers and employees first.

“We expect that members of the board, current and newly elected, will fulfill their fiduciary duty and not allow the demand of certain shareholders for millions of dollars in distributions to come before the interests of the company’s employees, its customers and the communities we serve,” wrote Griffin.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Port Pics
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Special Features