CEO Gersh to Step Down from MSLO

Lisa GershLisa Gersh

NEW YORK-Lisa Gersh, president and CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO), will leave that post at an as-yet undetermined date.

A search has begun for Gersh's successor, and Gersh will continue in her post during what an MSLO statement described as "a transition period." The statement gave no reason for Gersh's departure.

Gersh joined MSLO in early 2011 as president and chief operating officer, and was designated CEO in July of this year. The statement said, "Under Ms. Gersh's leadership, the company has successfully restructured and repositioned its publishing and broadcast divisions to improve profitability and expand delivery of its lifestyle offerings through digital, mobile and video platforms." MSLO expects this restructuring to bring annualized cost savings of from $45 million to $47 million, boosting operating income by about $5 million to $7 million.

The statement added that MSLO is also focusing on building its higher-margin merchandising businesses by expanding into new product categories, adding new distribution partners and entering new international markets. In a few months, the Martha Stewart home program at J.C. Penney, which will include in-store shops and an e-commerce site, will launch, and MSLO "will begin to realize the revenue and brand-building benefits" of this program, the statement said.

In its third quarter ending on Sept. 30, MSLO posted a net loss of $50.9 million, compared to a net loss of $9.7 million from the third quarter of 2011. Total revenues dropped 16.6 percent to $43.5 million in the quarter.

Gersh joined MSLO after serving as president of strategic initiatives and managing director and CEO of The Weather Channel Cos. for NBC Universal, which she joined in 2007 after Oxygen Media, the company which she co-founded, was acquired by the media giant.

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