The ongoing situation at Market Basket has brought a lot of names—some of which sound remarkably alike—to the forefront. The following list is far from complete, with thousands of employees and customers active in the effort to reinstall the company’s ousted CEO. Here’s a breakdown of who’s who in the wildest supermarket debaclel to hit New England in, well, forever.
Arthur T. Demoulas
Former CEO Arthur T. Demoulas, whose grandfather founded the company that eventually became Market Basket, was fired on June 23 of this year. His ouster was not a complete shock. In July 2013, the company’s board had tried to push him out. His firing has led to a wave of employee and supporter protests, which are ongoing. Arthur T. spoke out on Monday (July 21) to push for the reinstatement of employees fired as the result of their involvement in the recent protests.
Demoulas served as CEO for six years, during which time the company opened several new stores and made plans to open more. He has worked for the company most of his life. He remains a major shareholder in the company. He and his family are also involved with various real estate companies, which do business with Market Basket.
Market Basket employs 25,000 people across 71 stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.
Arthur S. Demoulas
Arthur S. Demoulas is Arthur T’s cousin. (Can you see how this gets confusing?) Arthur S. has warred against Arthur T.’s side of the family for control of the company, going back to a wild court case in the 1990s that gripped the Massachusetts legal system. Arthur S. and his side of the family said Arthur T.’s side tried to squeeze his family out of the business, and the courts agreed, helping to restore his side’s stake in the company.
Last year, Arthur S. managed to bring additional family members onto his ‘team.’ Arthur S.’s sister-in-law, Rafaele Evans, who is the widow of his brother, and his niece, Vanessa Demoulas, were reportedly swayed to Arthur S.’s side, giving him de facto control of the company and thus its board, which would eventually vote to oust Arthur T.
Long story short: There are two Arthurs, and they don’t like each other.
The Board of Directors
The company’s board of directors acts on behalf of its shareholders, which is comprised of family members. Most of them are now aligned with Arthur S., the family’s only current representative on the board.
Keith Cowan is chairman of the board. He is the former president of strategic planning and initiatives at Sprint Nextel Corporation, according to Forbes.
Members of the board are appointed by family members, and the board also includes “independent’’ members. As such, some directors are still loyal to Arthur T.
Cowan, the director, was previously a representative of Arthur S.’s side, but was later appointed to an independent position. Arthur T. attempted to disqualify Cowan’s appointment as an independent director in 2013 court filings, according to the Boston Business Journal.
Felicia Thornton and James Gooch
Felicia Thornton and James Gooch (pictured above) were brought on to serve as co-CEOs of Market Basket after Arthur T. was fired.
Thornton has worked as CFO and Executive Vice President of Albertson’s Supermarkets, and previously worked at Kroger. She worked at Albertson’s when it was purchased by multiple parties.
Prior to Markt Basket, Gooch was President and CEO of Radio Shack. He also has executive experience at Helene Curtis, Quaker Oats, and Sears.
Thornton and Gooch have been villified by employees supporting Arthur T.
The Casualties: Round 1
When Arthur T. Demoulas was fired on June 23, 2014 , two other long-time executives were also shown the door: Operations Director Bill Marsden and Vice President Joe Rockwell.
The next day (June 24), ahead of an employee rally of several hundred, seven other long-time employees at the executive level resigned.
Operations Director David McLean
CFO Donald Mulligan
Accountant Sue Dufresne
Advertising Director Jay Rainville
Executive Vice President Jim Miamis
Deli Director Ronald Carignan
Personal Assistant Joanne Marsden
The Casualties: Round 2
As employees continued to protest into July, at least eight more management-level employees were fired on July 20, 2014. They had all been active in efforts to re-instate Arthur T. Demoulas. Most had been with the company for decades.
District Manager Tom Trainor
Facilities Supervisor Steve Paulenka (pictured above, addressing an employee rally on July 21)
Warehouse Supervisor Dean Joyce
Buyer Jim Lacourse
Buyer Joe Garon
Grocery Supervisor Tom Gordon
Operations Supervisor Joe Schmidt
Deli Supervisor Mike Kettenbach (a nephew of Arthur T. Demoulas)
In his statement Monday night, Arthur T. urged the company’s new leadership to rehire fired employees.