One man may be the best CEO in the world considering the lengths his employees went to ensure he kept his job. It is not uncommon for workers to participate in a strike for better wages, healthcare or improved working conditions. However, it is unheard of for employees to strike in a show of support for their CEO, but that is exactly what happened at Market Basket.
The Market Basket saga began when a bitter family feud spilled over into the business. Market Basket is a family-owned business that was split between Arthur T. Demoulas and his followers, and his cousin Arthur S. Demoulas and his followers. When the two began feuding, Arthur S., who owned 50.5 percent of the shares to the company, ousted his cousin from his position as CEO. When the company’s workers and loyal customers found out about the change, a boycott was almost instantaneous. The workers boycotted the New England Market Basket supermarkets for six whole weeks in a bid to restore a management team that held out for worker-friendly management practices. In the end, they won.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the boycott ended Wednesday night with a deal in which Arthur T. and his allies will buy the 50.5% stake in the company owned by his rival cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas. Arthur T.’s management team, which was fired after protesting his forced departure as chief executive, will also be reinstated, according to company representatives. Arthur T. will run the company alongside its current two co-CEOs as the deal moves forward.
Though there has been some speculation on whether the store can recover from six weeks of poor sales, many are confident that Market Basket will come back stronger than ever. Joe Garon, who worked at the company for 49 years as a buyer until he was fired last month, said he expected the company to do even better going forward. Loyal customers who spent weeks protesting will return, he said, and new customers will come to check out what all the fuss is about.
“I think we’ll have more customers than ever. People will want to know what is so special about Artie T. and Market Basket.”
Just today, Arthur T. addressed his supporters outside of Market Basket headquarters and thanked them for all they have done for him. According to the online publication Boston, Arthur T. was met with nothing short of a hero’s fanfare. Employees cheered as Arthur T. spoke and some were in the parking lot honking their horns and waving. Arthur T. spoke directly to those that paved the way for his successful acquisition of the company.
“You have demonstrated to the world that it is a person’s moral obligation and social responsibility to protect the culture which provides an honorable and a dignified place in which to work. As I stand before you, I am in awe of what you all accomplished, and the sterling example you have all set for so many people across the region and across the country. As you held signs in the hot summer sun, as you stood waving flags in the pouring rain…the public watched in awe and admiration because you empowered others to seek change.”
Do you think Arthur T. embodies everything that is right with corporate America? His employees certain think he is deserving of the world’s best CEO title, but what will consumers think? Can Market Basket pull out of their 6 week boycott with Arthur T. back at the helm? Time will only tell, but in the meantime, the beloved CEO will certainly be doing his best to ensure the company stays afloat and his employees remain happy.