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Board ousts Market Basket CEO

The Boston Herald

June 23. 2014 9:20PM
Arthur T. Demoulas 

A long-running family feud between two factions of the Demoulas family came to a head Monday when Market Basket’s CEO and the grocery chain’s two other top executives were fired.

The Tewksbury company’s board terminated CEO Arthur T. Demoulas, director of operations Bill Marsden and vice president of grocery sales and merchandising Joe Rockwell, Marsden confirmed.

The board has been controlled since last June by members aligned with the CEO’s rival cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas.

It held elections for company officers at its meeting yesterday morning and chose Felicia Thornton and James Gooch to assume the senior management responsibilities of Market Basket effective immediately, a board spokesperson said in a statement.

“They have become Market Basket’s chief operating officer and chief administrative officer, respectively, and co-chief executive officers of the company,” the spokesperson said. “Arthur T. Demoulas, who was not re-elected president and will not retain any management responsibilities moving forward, remains a shareholder of the company.”

Thornton most recently served as CEO of Knowledge Universe U.S., a Portland, Ore.-based private early childhood education provider. Gooch most recently served as CEO of RadioShack Corp., according to the board’s statement.

Rockwell was not re-elected, and both he and Marsden are “no longer with the company,” the spokesperson said.

Marsden confirmed he was fired, along with Arthur T. Demolas and Rockwell.

“The board’s action today is driven by greed, pure and simple,” Marsden said in a statement. “Arthur T. Demoulas continued the tradition of his father, promising customers ’More for Your Dollar.’ He was fired today after he built the most successful supermarket chain in the Northeast. 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.”

The three fired executives had a combined 110-plus years of service to the company, Marsden said.

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