NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

July 22, 2013

One company whose CEO, employees have each other's backs

We still don’t know what really happened behind the closed doors of a Wyndham Hotel conference room where the Market Basket grocery store chain’s board of directors met to consider a motion to fire CEO Arthur T. Demoulas.

The private meeting lasted for more than 12 hours and adjourned with no statement by the board on what it did or didn’t do or what its next step will be. The board will meet again a month from tomorrow.

All we have to go by is a statement by Arthur T. Demoulas after the meeting indicating that the board did not vote on a motion to remove him and he remains the head of the operation.

“I am pleased with today’s result,” he said. “I hope to work constructively with the board going forward.”

The latter part of the statement hints at issues that remain unresolved.

Some board members have accused the CEO of ignoring board directives and engaging in “self-dealing” by directing Market Basket real estate business to family firms.

The critics proposed to replace him with a cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas, who comes from a side of the Demoulas family that for two decades has been battling with Arthur T.’s side for control of the prosperous business.

While we don’t know what occurred or what was said at the board meeting, we do know one thing for sure after Thursday:

Arthur T. Demoulas has an extraordinarily loyal and hard-working core of employees.

In the days leading up to the board meeting, they organized a petition campaign that collected tens of thousands of signatures from customers and employees. More than 44,000 signed an online version of the petition. Thousands more signed at tables set up at many Market Basket stores.

Store managers and employees also bought full-page ads in The Daily News and sister papers the day before the meeting.

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