Capping a year of turmoil that included layoffs, titles closing and the failure of its Hallmark Channel show, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’s president and CEO Lisa Gersh is out.
MSLO cast the change in the context of the company's plans to shift more aggressively into merchandising. Gersh, who was named COO in May 2011 and elevated to the CEO title in June, came from a television background, having been a co-founder of Oxygen Media and serving in various roles at NBC after its acquisition of Oxygen.
In a statement, MSLO said that with the company's restructuring now complete, it would seek growth by expanding into new product categories and enter new overseas markets.
Gersh's short tenure has been a rocky time for the company, which has been facing questions about the continued cultural relevance of its namesake founder. Stewart built a multimedia empire on her devotion to domesticity. But her readers have aged, and people are favoring less expensive, easier tastes and design. This fall, MSLO shut down Whole Living and downgraded Everyday Food to focus on its bigger flagship, Martha Stewart Living. Earlier in the year, Hallmark canceled Martha Stewart's daytime program after underwhelming ratings.
MSLO, which announced this morning that Gersh would step down, said that she would remain in her role while a search for her successor was conducted.