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MSLO prez and ceo, Lisa Gersh to step down

New York -- Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. today said Lisa Gersh, the company's president and ceo, plans to step down from her roles.

A search for her replacement is underway, MSLO said, and this leadership transition "is expected to further drive the company's strategy of expanding its merchandising business alongside its successful media properties, both domestically and internationally."

Gersh will remain president and ceo and a member of the board of directors during a transition period.

Under her leadership, Gersh is credited with helping the company successfully restructure and reposition its publishing and broadcast divisions to improve profitability and expand delivery of its lifestyle offerings through digital, mobile and video platforms.

The company expects the restructuring to result in annualized cost savings in the range of $45 million to $47 million, which is expected to result in an EBITDA improvement of approximately $5 million to $7 million annually.

MSLO added it is also focused on building its higher margin merchandising businesses by expanding into new product categories, adding new distribution partners, and entering new international markets. More specifically, fourth quarter merchandising revenue is expected to be 15% higher than the same period last year with adjusted EBITDA margins of approximately 70%.

In early 2013, the company will begin to realize the revenue and brand building benefits of its agreement with J.C. Penney, which was entered into in late 2011.

"Our media businesses are now repositioned for the future and we are excited about the potential of our digital, mobile, video and print platforms," said Martha Stewart, founder and non-executive chairman. "As one example, our digital business hit an all-time high of 8.3 million unique visitors in November. Building on this momentum, we are now increasing our capabilities in merchandising and plan to take full advantage of that opportunity for the benefit of our shareholders and all of our partners both at home and abroad. The rest of the board and I are grateful for Lisa's leadership and thank her for the many contributions she has made to the company."

Added Gersh: "It has been an honor to lead this company with its iconic brands, loyal following and wealth of creative talent. With the restructuring of the media businesses complete and a strong team leading key financial and corporate functions, the company is on solid footing and positioned for growth. There is an exciting future ahead for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and I am committed to working with the board to ensure a smooth transition."

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