Arthur T. Demoulas might be among the most popular CEOs of all time.
When the head of Boston grocery chain Market Basket was fired following a family dispute, several members of his executive team also quit in protest.
Thousands of his workers have also mobilized to protest his firing.
What makes Demoulas so popular?
“He shook hands, he attended store openings, he was proud of what everyone accomplished instead of taking credit for himself,” Pamela DeSantis White, whose father worked at Market Basket for more than 40 years, told Business Insider.
Demoulas was a fixture in his workers’ lives, even attending family weddings and funerals.
“Not many people can say their boss does that,” White said.
Things have gotten so bad at Market Basket that store shelves are bare.
Even customers and politicians have gotten involved, staging boycotts until he is reinstated. Eight employees have lost their jobs for their roles in organising protests.
Demoulas was also instrumental in giving workers benefits that are almost unheard of in the grocery industry, according to Boston.com. Employees enjoy profit-sharing and bonuses.
“Receiving profit-sharing made workers extremely loyal and aware of wastefulness,” former employee Christopher Ward told Business Insider. “It’s about more than liking Demoulas as a person…employees are grateful for what he does for them.”
Ratings on Glassdoor also praise the flexible schedules and room for advancement.
Ward, who started bagging groceries when he was just 14, said that Demoulas made a point to frequent stores and talk with workers.
In a petition pleading for Demoulas’ return, the grocery store employees said they are worried that the new managers won’t advocate for them.
“Mr. Demoulas has provided for our family, and we will never forget it,” John Sevastis, who has worked at Market Basket for decades, told The Boston Globe.
Demoulas spoke about his firing for the first time Monday to defend the eight employees who have lost their jobs for protesting.
“This is not about me. It is about the people who have proven their dedication over many years and should not have lost their jobs because of it,” Demoulas said in a statement to MyFoxBoston.
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