What to do with Martha Stewart?
New York investigates the future of her eponymous company as she prepares to take the top spot once again and finds the problem is with the front woman herself.
Benjamin Wallace paints a picture of Stewart as a controlling, almost impossible boss who refuses to give up any control despite notable missteps.
The stock price of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia is currently hovering around $4, up from late May but down more than $1 from a year ago (and almost $32 from its height in 2005).
Morale around the company is low.
At times, the offices resembled a shelter for battered crafters. “That women’s bathroom,’ the editor adds, ‘there are women in there crying literally all day long.”
And then there’s this nugget:
Stewart’s wealth is tied up almost entirely in her real estate and company stock, which she has always believed to be undervalued. One of the intriguing aspects of her high compensation is that if she were simply to take a $1 salary, along the lines of Steve Jobs, the market would almost certainly reward the move with a hike in her stock price; and an increase of just $1 would boost Stewart’s net worth by tens of millions of dollars.
It’s not an unsavable situation — the brand has sellable assets and Stewart’s name carries a certain cachet — but the once and future head woman is going to have to admit she needs help.