Market Basket’s board of directors announced a new proposal to ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas Friday, in an arrangement that would allow his own management team to return to work while he continued negotiations to purchase a majority share in the company.
Demoulas would not be named CEO during the proposed interim period, a statement from the company reads. It’s unclear what role, if any, Demoulas would have in the temporary solution.
“Our associates and suppliers are committed to meeting the needs of our customers. We all take great pride in the work we do,’’ the statement reads. “Our goal is to move forward, while making sure associates and customers are taken care of. Any delay to reaching agreement on this path forward simply harms associates, customers and the Company. It is time to move on.’’
The statement claims that Demoulas has not replied to the proposal, privately offered earlier this week, or “any other that would separately resolve the situation in the interim, while he and his shareholder group continue pursuing the purchase’’ of the supermarket chain.
“There is no reason to not meet in the middle,’’ the statement reads.
Demoulas, who made a similar proposal that would permit him to return as CEO during negotiations, released a statement in reply about an hour later.
Five weeks ago these Board members voted to fire Arthur T. Demoulas and banned him from company property. Since that time, the company has spiraled downward and Arthur T. has worked feverishly to purchase the company. On three separate occasions since that time, including as recently as yesterday, Arthur T. has offered in writing and otherwise to try to bring back his entire management team to work to stabilize the company. Each offer was rejected.
It is disingenuous to issue a press release at 5:30 on a Friday, from the “Independent Directors’’ all of whom were appointed by Arthur S. Demoulas’ side of the family, announcing that they have invited him to rejoin the company but not as CEO. This is an attempt to have him stabilize the company, while they consider selling it to another bidder. This is far too serious a situation for these games and attempts at window dressing. It is a serious issue that deserves a serious solution. Market Basket’s Associates, customers, vendors and communities deserve better than that. Arthur T. Demoulas has provided a serious proposal which should be accepted.
The directors’ statement comes a day after reports surfaced about Hannaford’s parent company offering to buy Market Basket, and only hours after Gov. Deval Patrick wrote the labor dispute had “gotten out of hand’’ and urged the chain’s board of directors to quickly resolve the crisis.
Check out more of our coverage of the Market Basket dispute here.