Martha Stewart to quit her company's board - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Martha Stewart to quit her company's board

N E W   Y O R K, March 8 — Martha Stewart has told the board of her troubled company she is willing to step down whenever it is appropriate to the company.

The board of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. met today at the Manhattan office of the company's outside attorneys and discussed when and how Stewart would resign from the board, as well as what, if any, future role she might have, sources close to the company and familiar with the discussions told ABCNEWS.

Stewart, 62, was present for part of the midday meeting. The board discussed whether she should step down immediately, or wait until her current term as a director expires in May, the sources said, adding that the meeting was "inconclusive."

Even if she resigns from the board, Stewart wants to maintain a creative role in the company, two sources said, adding that the board is considering allowing her to stay on as an employee or consultant in the creative processes at the firm. The board does not face the pressure to act — or announce any actions — quickly.

Stewart's future role in the company is by no means certain and has been an ongoing topic of discussion among the company directors and executives, who must weigh the pluses and minuses of any involvement from the woman who even from prison, will remain the controlling shareholder of the company, two sources told ABCNEWS.

From Media Mogul to Future Inmate

Stewart founded Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia in 1995. She resigned as chairwoman and CEO in June when she was indicted but stayed on as chief creative officer and a member of the board.

The board meeting began either as or shortly after Stewart completed her presentencing interview at the federal probation department. She was convicted Friday of conspiracy, making false statements and obstruction of justice in her sale of almost 4,000 shares of stock in ImClone Systems. That sale came the day before a disappointing government report on Imclone's cancer drug Erbitux. Prosecutors said Stewart acted on a tip that ImClone CEO Sam Waksal was trying to sell his shares.

Stewart began telephone discussions about her future with the company's attorneys and executives over the weekend.

Stewart today also stepped down from the board of Revlon Inc., which had served on since 1996. As she met with federal probation officials and then members of her company's board, stock in her company fell another 8 percent. Shares in Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. 96 cents to close at 9.90 today, adding to a nearly 23 percent tumble since Friday's conviction.

In addition, Viacom-owned TV networks CBS abd UPN took her syndicated show, Martha Stewart Living, off the air. There was no immediate word about the show's furture from its syndicator, King World.

Stewart will be sentenced on June 17.

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