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Following its firing of CEO Arthur T. Demoulas and two other top executives, the Demoulas Supermarkets board of directors has elected Felicia Thornton and James Gooch as the New England supermarket chain's COO and chief administrative officer, respectively, and as co-CEOs effective immediately, according to a published report. Both had been consultants to the company, which operates 71 New England stores in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire under the Market Basket banner.
"Arthur T. Demoulas, who was not re-elected president and will not retain any management responsibilities moving forward, remains a shareholder of the company," the Tewksbury, Mass.-based company said in a statement published in the Boston Herald. "The board believes this new management team will enable Market Basket to maximize its potential and pave the way for continued success in the future."
Thornton's latest position was CEO of Knowledge Universe U.S., a Portland, Ore.-based early-childhood education provider, although she brings supermarket experience to her new role from previous posts at Albertsons and Kroger. Gooch, who was CEO at RadioShack Corp. before his sudden departure in 2012, has also held financial roles at Kmart Corp. and Sears Holdings.
Associate Rally Planned
Despite the company's attempts to move past the firings, Market Basket employees plan to protest the ousters of Demoulas, Director of Operations Bill Marsden and VP of Grocery Sales and Merchandising Joe Rockwell at a June 24 rally at the chain’s store in Chelsea, Mass., the Boston Herald reported.
Marsden has attributed the dismissals as "driven by greed, pure and simple," according to published reports.
The leadership shakeup is part of a long-running power struggle between Arthur T. Demoulas and his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas, which has already led to several lawsuits, employee protests and even a move last July to fire Arthur T. Demoulas that was blocked by employees and other supporters, the Herald reported.