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Wenda Millard Out at Martha Stewart

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Co-CEO Wenda Millard is out at at Martha Stewart Living OmniMedia (MSO). The company will not replace her but will divvy up her responsibilities among its current execs, including Martha Stewart herself.

No word on what Millard, who is best known as the longtime leader of Yahoo’s (YHOO) sales force, plans to do next. Even while she has been running Stewart’s multimedia empire along with co-CEO Robin Marino, she’s remained highly visible in the online ad world, popping up frequently to decry the rise of advertising networks.

UPDATE: Millard will become president at Media Link, a media consultancy founded by Michael Kassan, who she says has been courting her some time. “This had nothing to do with leaving Martha Stewart. It had everything with going to Media Link,” she told me from San Francisco, where she had just received a lifetime achievement award at the ad:tech conference. “This is a very, very timely opportunity. People need a lot of help navigating in this environment, and this kind of strategic advice is exactly what companies need today.”

Millard’s departure from the company isn’t a shock because she has long been rumored to be unhappy at Martha Stewart. She and Marino took over the company last summer when Susan Lyne left the CEO post; Lyne later landed at e-commerce start-up Gilt Group. Last fall, Millard was reportedly feuding with Stewart and was supposedly heading to sell ads for Microsoft (MSFT), a story she denied when I asked her about it. Here’s the release:

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. today announced a reorganization of its Media business. The Company also announced that Wenda Harris Millard is stepping down from her post as President of Media and Co-CEO. The company has no plans to replace Ms. Millard or name a new co-CEO.

Martha Stewart, MSLO’s Founder, will oversee all editorial and creative functions. MSLO Chairman Charles Koppelman, who in addition to serving as the Company’s Principal Executive Officer, will now oversee MSLO’s Media businesses. Robin Marino will continue to oversee Merchandising, serving as the segment’s President and CEO, and to report to Mr. Koppelman. Ms. Marino is expected to be recommended to join MSLO’s Board of Directors.

Mr. Koppelman stated: “We are grateful to Wenda for all of her work on behalf of MSLO. Wenda has been a champion of Martha’s groundbreaking Omnimedia vision on which this company was built. She has been an effective leader of a very talented team as we’ve expanded our franchises and grown our cross-platform programs.”

“Robin will continue to work with me to identify new opportunities and create synergies across our Media and Merchandising businesses,” Mr. Koppelman added.

Ms. Millard stated: “I am very proud of the contributions I’ve made to MSLO over the past five years, first as a board member and most recently as President of Media and co-CEO. We’ve built an agile team and a strong foundation for future growth.”

UPDATE: Millard will become president at Media Link, a media consultancy founded by Michael Kassan, who she says has been courting her for some time (press release below).

Wenda Harris Millard Joins Media Link LLC as President

Sets Course to Further Grow Strategic Advisory Firm

NEW YORK (April 22, 2009) Media Link LLC, the preeminent media representation and strategic advisory firm to the marketing, media, entertainment and advertising industries, today announced that Wenda Harris Millard, an internet advertising pioneer and a widely-known and respected marketing and media executive, will join the firm as President, working with Chief Executive and Founder, Michael E. Kassan. Ms. Millard joins Media Link from Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. where she has been Co-CEO and President, Media.

“I am enormously excited about contributing to the quality counsel and implementation services Media Link provides to its impressive roster of international clients,” says Ms Millard. “I am as passionate as I have ever been about the media, marketing and advertising businesses, and I cannot think of a more opportune time or a more well-positioned company than MediaLink with which to apply my skills and knowledge in helping major global companies plan and execute intelligent marketing strategies.”

“Media Link has experienced dramatic growth in both the volume and scope of its business during the last several years,” says Mr. Kassan, who founded the firm seven years ago. “I am very proud to have someone of Wenda’s industry stature joining Media Link as my partner. Wenda’s thirty 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.”

Ms Millard had joined MSLO in July 2007 after three years as a member of its Board of Directors. She oversaw MSLO’s media businesses, which include publishing, internet and broadcasting. She is credited with elevating the company to its #1 position in percent of revenue derived from digital advertising among all other “traditional” media companies, She led MSLO’s investments in Wedding Wire and Pingg and was the company’s driving force behind creating cross-platform programs for marketers in TV, digital, magazines and radio.

Before MSLO, Ms Millard was Chief Sales Officer at Yahoo! and prior to that was Chief Internet Officer at Ziff Davis Media and President of Ziff Davis Internet. Previously, Ms Millard was a founding member of the executive team at DoubleClick, where she served as Executive Vice President responsible for establishing the DoubleClick brand and overseeing the operations of DoubleClick Media. She also served as President and Group Publisher of SRDS, Senior Vice President and Publisher of Family Circle and Executive Vice President/Group Publisher of Adweek, Mediaweek and Brandweek magazines.

Ms Millard has received numerous industry awards. She is currently Chairman of the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

Media Link, LLC (http://medialinkllc.com) is the preeminent media representation and strategic advisory firm, founded by former President/Chief Operating Officer and Vice-Chairman of Initiative Media Worldwide Michael Kassan. Media Link’s Representation division conceptualizes and brokers media, sponsorship, integration, and alliance deals at the highest levels between media, entertainment, marketing and advertising firms. The Company represents traditional media players and digital, out-of-home and branded entertainment companies, including more than a dozen of the top Hollywood content producers and distributors. Media Link’s Strategic Advisory division provides consulting services to consumer brands in their corporate and cross-company marketing, media, and advertising strategies and implementations. Media Link draws on the knowledge and relationships of an elite, handpicked group of in-house Subject Matter Experts (former media buyers, agency heads, and senior executives at brand advertisers and integrated media conglomerates). In addition to his role as Chief Executive, Kassan is extremely active in all aspects of client servicing, including when Media Link is called upon to act as advisor to senior executives of major consumer advertisers and integrated media companies. Media Link clients have included: Microsoft, AT&T, Unilever, Home Depot, Colgate-Palmolive, Vodafone, Revlon, Major League Soccer, The Walt Disney Company, Viacom, Comcast, Bain & Co., General Atlantic, FremantleMedia and Sony.

George Simpson
George H. Simpson Communications
203.521.0352
george@georgesimpson.com


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