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June 24, 2014

Market Basket ousts CEO, 2 top execs

Ex-employee: 'They fired the good guy'

After years of infighting, the Market Basket’s board of directors yesterday fired President and CEO Arthur T. Demoulas, as well as two top executives — Director of Operations Bill Marsden and Vice President of Grocery Joe Rockwell.

The board said in a statement that Arthur T. Demoulas “was not re-elected president and will not retain any management responsibilities moving forward.”

The board elected Felicia Thornton chief operating officer and James Gooch chief administrative officer. Thornton and Gooch had been consultants to the Tewksbury-based company. Market Basket has 71 stores in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

“The board believes this new management team will enable Market Basket to maximize its potential and pave the way for continued success in the future,” the board’s statement said.

Marsden said the action to remove him, Rockwell and Demoulas was “driven by greed” after Demoulas implemented a 4 percent price cut for this year and some board members were concerned that would cut into the company’s profit.

“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, one of the top in the country by most metrics,” Marsden said in a statement.

He added that he, Rockwell and Demoulas have a combined 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,” Marsden said.

The Demoulas family has feuded over company management for years. Arthur T. Demoulas’ cousin and rival, Arthur S. Demoulas, gained board control last year. Arthur T. Demoulas kept his position then. But Arthur S. Demoulas won a court judgment to distribute $300 million to shareholders, which his cousin had opposed.

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