Wenda Harris Millard has left Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia to join Media Link.
Millard (pictured) served as co-CEO of MSLO for nearly a year after joining the company as president of media. At Media Link, she will serve as president under CEO and founder Michael Kassan.
Media Link is a brand consulting firm for marketers and media companies on digital strategy, possible mergers and acquisitions, and public policy issues. It provides everything from video creation services to public relations strategy. Kassan is the former president and chief operating officer of Initiative Media Worldwide.
Millard spent six years at Yahoo, where she led its ad sales and championed brand advertising online. She departed Yahoo in June 2007 for MSLO when Yahoo merged its search and brand ad sales units. She has over 25 years of media and advertising experience, often acting as one of the most prominent voices in the interactive ad community. Millard currently chairs the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
“Wenda’s 30 years of multimedia, marketing and advertising experience and her laser-like focus on helping client companies and agencies navigate a radically altered and still-evolving landscape make her an excellent fit to help both deepen and broaden what the world’s top advertisers and media companies can expect of Media Link,” Kassan said in a statement.
At MSLO, Millard worked to increase integrated sales for the company’s offline and online properties. The New York Post last fall reported that she clashed with Martha Stewart and had been in the running for the top sales post at Microsoft. Millard had denied the conflicts.
“It’s a time when companies are really looking for help navigating some uncharted waters,” Millard said. “The landscape is ever evolving.”
Millard said her departure from MSLO was “not the story,” adding that Kassan, a friend for many years, had long tried to woo her to his consulting practice. After two years in operating roles and three additional years as a board member, the timing was right, she said.
“It’s really about Michael and I being two in the business who have been friends for a very long time and with a lot of experience,” Millard said. It’s a very natural alliance at a very important time. There isn’t really a Martha Stewart angle.”
Like many media companies, MSLO has struggled of late. In the fourth quarter of 2008, revenue fell 38.4 percent to $72.9 million, with declines across publishing, broadcasting, Internet and merchandising operations.
MSLO said Millard would not be replaced; company founder Stewart and chairman Charles Koppelman will now assume expanded roles.
Stewart — who gave up her director and chief creative officer posts following her conviction in connection with a stock sale, but has remained active at the company — will oversee editorial and creative functions. Koppelman will take on the media businesses in addition to serving as principal executive officer.
Millard’s co-CEO Robin Marino, meanwhile, will continue to oversee merchandising as that unit’s president and CEO and work with Koppelman to create synergies across the media and merchandising businesses. The company said it also expects Marino to be recommended to join MSLO’s board.
Millard is the latest in a recent string of high-level departures from MSLO that have included sales exec Jacki Kelley, who jumped to Universal McCann to become its North America president, and CFO Howard Hochhauser. At the brand level, the company has lately changed editors at flagship Martha Stewart Living and Everyday Food.