Former Tuesday Morning (NASDAQ:TUES) CEO Kathleen Mason says she was fired in June because of her breast cancer diagnosis and not because of the company’s weak performance under her leadership.
Mason, who filed a formal complaint about the matter with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, spoke with the Wall Street Journal on Friday.
“If they were so upset about my performance, why didn’t they have a new CEO ready to put in there?” Mason rhetorically asked during the WSJ interview. “I do feel this was truly about my breast cancer and the fact that they were concerned about it.”
Mason later added that she would like her job back.
Tuesday Morning denies any illegal activity regarding Mason’s termination.
“Ms. Mason’s termination was lawful and made in conformity with the terms of her employment agreement,” Tuesday Morning said in a press release. “The company believes that any claims relating to her termination are without merit and intends to vigorously defend any such claims.”
During Mason’s nearly 12-year tenure, the Dallas-based home-furnishings discount retailer was peppered with a mix of extreme gains and losses. TUES shares soared above $35 in 2005, but plummeted during the financial crisis.
In a letter included in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on the day Mason was fired, activist firm Becker Drapkin blamed Mason for the company’s failures:
“Put simply, Ms. Mason has led an extraordinary destruction of shareholder value in stark contrast to the success of Tuesday Morning’s peer group. From its peak in 2005, the share price has declined from $35.37 per share to a price of $4.05 per share — an 89% decline.”
Tuesday Morning currently is helmed by interim CEO Michael Marchetti. TUES shares were up about 2% in Monday morning trading.