Market Basket: A Tale of 2 Executives

Exchange of statments between Arthur T. Demoulas and Arthur S. Demoulas show how family feud has become a public spectacle

 As Market Basket business negotiations go on behind closed doors, the drama of the ordeal is playing out on a very public stage.

After what seemed like much silence, there came a frenzy of press releases issued over the weekend, with both sides pointing fingers at the other as to why a deal has yet to be reached.

"I don't think that what you're seeing is necessarily indicative of a family business, it's indicative of a dysfunctional family business," said Ted Clark with the Northeastern University Center for Family business.

The business breakdown captured public attention back in June when the ousting of former CEO Arthur T. Demoulus sparked warehouse workers and truck drivers to walk off the job, followed by a wave of protests, rallies and even consumer boycotts of the store.

Clark explains why the story continues to grow.

"It's power, it's money, it's control. It's two people that have the ability, the access to the resources to make things happen and to push their own way," said Clark. "It's a drama that unfolds right in front of us."

"Everybody shops in supermarkets and thinks about the price of food," said President Lori Moretti of CM Communications. "It's not like a business on Wall Street or a more complex business, so it really hits home."

Moretti says the dispute has become so public that managing the messages from both sides is now a difficult task. Despite the fact the company is suffering from the attention now, it could prove to be beneficial.

"Consumers won't go near a Market Basket until this story has rectified itself and they get back on track, but I think it's brought them tremendous brand exposure that they could leverage to their benefit down the line," said Moretti.

Monday evening, Market Basket's independent directors released the latest in the string of statements to the media, reading, in part, "Three days ago, we offered a solution to the current standoff. We pledged to put everything on the table. All we asked for was an end to the standoff by letting associates get back to work and customers get back to shopping ... There is no reason to continue to hold the 25,000 associates, two million shoppers and our local economies hostage to an ongoing business negotiation between shareholders ... We are ready to meet. It's time."

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