BURLINGTON,MA-- JULY 01,2008 --NEON SIGNS -- The Market Basket in Burlington. (globe staff photo: Joanne Rathe section: slug: reporter: ) Libary Tag 07312008
Market Basket has reportedly fired its CEO, Arthur T. Demoulas.
Joanne Rathe/The Boston Globe

The Lowell Sun reports that the CEO of Tewksbury-based Demoulas Supermarkets, the company that controls Market Basket, has been fired. Two other senior officials were also let go, the Sun reports.

Supermarket News is also reporting the firing, citing sources.

The leadership of Arthur T. Demoulas has been at the center of a simmering family rivalry that has boiled over in recent years. Having gained control of the company’s board, Demoulas’s similarly-named cousin Arthur S. Demoulas has led a fight to oust the CEO due to a conflict over how company money is spent. But that only tells the half of it. The two sides of the family have been at each other’s throats for decades, going back to a legal battle that has gone down in Massachusetts lore.

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The Boston Globe reported last summer on that conflict.

(The board plans to meet) to consider firing Arthur T., arguing he is spending money recklessly and refusing to accept the authority of the board.

In his defense, Arthur T. Demoulas, 58, asserts that Market Basket has grown and prospered during his five-year tenure as boss: opening 12 stores and renovating another 11; last year it recorded net income of $217 million on $4 billion in revenue. He said those moving to fire him are trying to manipulate company finances to further enrich themselves.

The CEO saw strong support from customers and employees before surviving that ouster attempt. The conflict also waged in the legal system over the past year, with a result favoring Arthur S.’s position.

Arthur T. has previously said his cousin would push for price increases and cuts in employee compensation if he was in control of the company. The conflict has also focused on agreements between the company and its vendors and developers. Despite paying its employees better and offering cheaper prices than its competition, The Boston Business Journal has reported Market Basket also posts higher margins than those competitors.

Market Basket operates more than 70 stores in the region, and is known for its low prices.

The “We Are Market Basket” Facebook page, which consists of employees and customers and has long supported Arthur T., was active following the Sun’s report.