updated 3/1/2005 1:47:41 PM ET 2005-03-01T18:47:41

Suzanne Sobel, publisher and executive vice president of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., has resigned, the company said Tuesday.

In a press release, the New York-based multimedia company said that it will initiate a search for a replacement immediately. In the interim, Lauren Stanich, president of publishing, will oversee advertising sales efforts.

“Suzanne has made enormous contributions to MSO and we are grateful to her for the role she has played in the growth of the company,” said Susan Lyne, president and CEO. “Suzanne brought incredible passion and energy to MSO’s unique cross-platform marketing programs as well as to the launch of several new titles.”

MSO’s magazine portfolio includes flagship Martha Stewart Living, Everyday Food, and recently acquired Body & Soul.

Sobel, who joined the company in 1991, said in a statement that it was time for her to seek out “new challenges.”

The company’s namesake founder is set to be released from prison as early as Friday after serving a five-month sentence for lying about a stock sale. For another five months, Stewart will be serving the home detention portion of her sentence for a stock scandal.

Last week, Martha Stewart Living reported a fourth-quarter loss of $7.33 million, or 15 cents per share, in the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with a profit of $2.37 million, or 5 cents per share, in the year-ago period. The results were dragged down by declining magazine advertising revenues and the hiatus of its syndicated daily cooking show starring Stewart.

Total revenues fell 15 percent to $60.21 million, from $70.86 million a year ago.

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