A Market Basket employee stood outside the entrance to the Londonderry store on Monday afternoon asking shoppers to sign a petition to keep Arthur T. Demoulas from being replaced as Chief Executive Officer of the company his father co-founded.
The person trying to oust him is also named Arthur – Arthur S. Demoulas, and he is trying to have his cousin removed from the post. Arthur T. Demoulas is the son of co-founder Mike Demoulas and Arthur S. Demoulas is the son of co-founder George Demoulas.
“I feel that if Art is removed, then prices will go up and our profit sharing will go away. He’s being criticized for building too many stores but he is providing jobs for a lot of people,” said Alicia Cardosi, a cashier at the Londonderry store.
Store manager Mark Lemieux, who has been with the Demoulas company for 36 years, said he couldn’t talk about the corporate position but had his own views on the situation. “There’s been a change in direction with the board of directors. They want to remove Arthur T. Demoulas as President of the company. I’ve been with the company for 36 years, I met my wife here, and for all that time this company has provided for me and my family. What people are trying to do is to influence the three independent board members so they won’t vote him out of office.”
He said that voting him out of office makes no sense. “Arthur T. is very well respected by all his employees and customers. We found out at a meeting last Thursday (July 11) that this action was going to be taken this Thursday (July 18),” Lemieux said. Lemieux said removing Arthur T. would change the culture of the company.
“After a lifetime of working here, Arthur T. cares most about his employees and his customers. I don’t know the philosophy of Arthur S., but I know that right now we’re the best in the business and rapidly expanding. It’s a very exciting time to be working here,” Lemieux said.
Lemieux said he feels very strongly about what is happening.
“Almost 22,000 employees would be affected by a change in direction of this company,” he said. “I don’t want to see that happen. Almost 22,000 employees working harmoniously as a team, happy, energized and harmonious.” Outside in the heat of a summer afternoon, Cardosi asked customers to save her CEO’s job. “Arthur T. has had my back for 36 years and now we need to have his,” Lemieux said.