Lisa Gersh has been tapped as president and chief operating officer of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO), effective June 6.
Gersh will report to Charles Koppelman, executive chairman and principal executive officer, and will be in charge of day-to-day business operations. A succession plan has also been put in place, with Gersh being integrated into the company and set to become CEO within 12-20 months of her hire.
Gersh is also expected to join the board of directors in the “near future”.
In addition to Gersh’s hire, Blackstone Advisory Partners have been retained to "review and respond" to companies interested in investing and/or partnering with MSLO, as well as "exploring other opportunities", according to a company release. Of this decision, Martha Stewart says, "As the founder and largest stockholder, I fully support this initiative to take our business and iconic brand to the next level."
In 2009, Wenda Harris Millard stepped down from her role as co-CEO, where she worked in tandem with Robin Marino. Until Gersh, there was no replacement named.
MSLO also announced today that Martha Stewart herself is slated to rejoin the board of directors in the third quarter of 2011. After being convicted in 2004 and a settlement of charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2006, Stewart was barred from being a director or officer in the public company for five years.
In other MSLO news, Patsy Pollack has been named senior executive vice president, in charge of lead merchandising business, succeeding Marino. Pollack has been with the company since 2008; before this, she was CEO of Donna Karan Home.
In the first quarter of 2011, MSLO publishing revenue was up to $34.66 million from $31.36 in the first quarter of 2010. However, broadcasting fell for to $7.76 million in first quarter 2011 from $12.09 million in first quarter 2010.
Update – On May 25, the day Gersh’s hire was announced, MSLO stock was up by 90 cents (+23 percent) to $4.67 per share. Currently, MSLO stock is down 1.5 percent, at $4.60 per share.