Saying “there is no reason not to meet in the middle,” the three independent directors of Demoulas Super Markets said Friday that they have made an offer to ousted president Arthur T. Demoulas and his staff to return to work at the beleaguered chain while Demoulas continues his pursuit of acquiring the company.
The offer would not return Demoulas to his role as CEO during this period, the board members said, but help to resume normal activities at the company, whose 71 stores have been rocked by three weeks of employee walkouts and consumer boycotts in protest of Demoulas’ firing by the board in late June.
Shortly after that offer was announced late Friday, it was denounced in a sharply worded statement from Arthur T. Demoulas, who suggested the board was seeking only to stabilize the company so as to sell it to another party. He called on the directors to instead accept his offer to take back full control of the company while a deal is finalized.
According to the board members statement, their proposed agreement “would allow [Demoulas] and his entire former management team, including all individuals who resigned or were dismissed, to assist the company’s return to normal business operations and people to get back to their jobs and lives. That agreement would not place Mr. Demoulas in control of the company during this interim period, but would instead retain the current management.”
“There is no reason to not meet in the middle,” the directors added. “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.”
Arthur T. Demoulas was fired in late June after a year of tangles with the board, which is controlled by majority shareholders led by his cousin Arthur S. Demoulas. The majority shareholders in turn said they were seeking a sale of the company. Arthur T. Demoulas said he had offered to buy all of the shares he did not own but that deal has not yet been consummated. It was not clear Friday whether the board would still consider additional proposals.
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