Louis Lanzano  /  AP
Martha Stewart exits Manhattan federal court after meeting with a probation officer earlier this year in New York.
updated 6/22/2004 8:55:12 AM ET 2004-06-22T12:55:12

Coming off a year “fraught with real sorrow,” Martha Stewart says she hopes her namesake company can function as usual while she prepares for a likely prison sentence.

Speaking to about 100 shareholders at her company’s annual meeting on Monday, Stewart said she misses her former job as chief creative officer and a board member of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. Stewart, who quit in March after a jury found her guilty of lying about a stock sale, remains the majority shareholder.

But Stewart, who now has the title of founding editorial director, said she is still involved in the multimedia company she created.

Stewart declined to talk specifically about her legal problems, given what she described as her “delicate, somewhat fragile” situation. She did say the past year has been “fraught with real sorrow.”

Stewart, who has asked for a new trial, is scheduled to be sentenced July 8. She is expected to get 10 to 16 months in prison.

Wearing a beige pantsuit, Stewart signed autographs and chatted with shareholders after a meeting that was full of supporters. But the overall advertising and business climate has been less than forgiving of her legal troubles.

Martha Stewart Living, which has been struggling with losses, disappointing sales and a battered stock for the past two years, last month reported a wider-than-expected loss for the first quarter. It also said advertiser defections will likely push losses for the second quarter beyond Wall Street’s expectations.

In a move to distance itself from its troubled founder, the New York-based company reiterated its plans to place greater emphasis on the “Living” in its Martha Stewart Living magazine, starting with the September issue. It also repeated that it is expanding its guaranteed circulation for the Everyday Food magazine to 750,000 from 500,000.

The company announced in May that its floundering “Martha Stewart Living” television show will be put on hiatus after the current season, eliminating 40 jobs in the television division. The company recently signed a multiyear agreement with The Style Network to air repeat episodes of “Martha Stewart Living.”

Struggling with the fallout of Stewart’s conviction, the company moved to bolster its management. Shareholders elected four new executives to the board Monday, creating a total of nine directors. They are: Rick Boyko, managing director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Adcenter and former co-president and chief creative officer of Ogilvy & Mather; Michael Goldstein, former chairman and CEO of Toys “R” Us; Susan Lyne, former president of ABC Entertainment; and Wenda Harris Millard, chief sales officer of Yahoo! Inc.

Following the meeting, CEO and president Sharon Patrick declined to speak about any future layoffs or other moves the company was embracing to distance itself from Stewart.

During her address, Patrick said that Martha Stewart Living executives have been speaking with consumers and advertisers, and were not “caught unprepared” by the conviction.

“Consumers remain stalwart,” she said, though she conceded that some advertisers won’t return until there’s a resolution.

“For many advertisers, it isn’t over until it is over,” she said.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

Data: Latest rates in the US

Home equity rates View rates in your area
Home equity type Today +/- Chart
$30K HELOC FICO 3.79%
$30K home equity loan FICO 4.99%
$75K home equity loan FICO 4.69%
Credit card rates View more rates
Card type Today +/- Last Week
Low Interest Cards 13.83%
Cash Back Cards 17.80%
Rewards Cards 17.18%