BOSTON (CBS) – Joe Schmidt says it feels like a public relations stunt. The fired Market Basket executive is referring to an offer from the board of directors to have ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas return on an interim basis to help stabilize the company, while still considering his offer to buy it outright.
“What’s the purpose of bringing him back in a role where he doesn’t have control? It doesn’t make sense to do that,” said Schmidt.
The board issued a statement, “Any delay to reaching agreement on this path forward simply harms associates, customers and the company. It is time to move on.”
But Demoulas rejected the offer calling it “disingenuous” and “playing games with a serious situation,” saying he’s offered three times to bring his management team to stabilize the battered company and has been rejected.
Demoulas’s spokeswoman said, “This is an attempt to have him stabilize the company, while they consider selling it to another bidder.”
“There is no reason to not meet in the middle,” the directors said in their statement. “Mr. Demoulas gets his management team back in place, associates can get back to doing their job, customers can get back to shopping and the company gets the breathing room needed to create an orderly and productive way forward.”
Burlington store manager Kevin Ralls was following the rapid pace of developments throughout the afternoon. “He’s going to do it right like he always has with the company and employees,” said Ralls.
Assistant store manager Theresa Roush says the offer seemed like a breakthrough, but the devil is in the details. “They can do what they did before, have him bring the company back up to glory then kick him back out the door,” she said.
The developments came just hours after Governor Patrick weighed in saying the situation had “gotten out of hand” and offering to help end the showdown, which is what it remains.
Full statement on behalf of Arthur T. Demoulas:
“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.”
MORE LOCAL NEWS FROM CBS BOSTON