As expected, Martha Stewart has resigned as a director and chief creative officer of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. (MSO). She will assume the newly created position of founding editorial director and will report to the company’s CEO, Sharon Patrick.
According to the company, Stewart will continue to provide creative inspiration for new product design and development; author two pending books, on homekeeping and baking; undertake contributing-editor and television assignments; help continue to build public profiles for MSO’s core content experts; and provide input on the continuing evolution of MSO and its brand and brand labels and on strategic issues.
Stewart’s new role “reflects our desire for Martha to continue to make an important contribution to our business,” said Jeffrey Ubben, chairman of the MSO board of directors. Ubben’s hedge fund, ValueAct Capital Partners, L.P., is the company’s largest outside shareholder, with about 22 percent of the stock. “Notwithstanding the significance of the recent verdict,” added Ubben, “continuing to have the benefit of Martha’s unique creative talents and contributions is in the very best interests of MSO and its shareholders.”
Patrick said in a statement: “Everyone at MSO recognizes the seriousness of Martha’s situation and is deeply saddened. However, all of us also believe that the company and our constituencies benefit most if we are able to continue to take advantage of Martha’s creative inspiration and capitalize on her prodigious skills and experience in the domestic arts — from cooking, to gardening, to crafts, to homekeeping.”
In her statement, Stewart — for perhaps the first time — conceded publicly the seriousness of her crimes and the mistakes she had made that led to her recent conviction and likely jail sentence. Noted Stewart, “I am heartsick about my personal legal situation — and deeply sorry for the pain and difficulties it has caused our employees.”