'MARTHA STEWART LIVING' MAGAZINE PUBLISHER QUITS

Suzanne Sobel's Sudden Departure Comes Days Before Ms. Stewart's Prison Release

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PHOENIX (AdAge.com) -- Suzanne Sobel, the veteran publisher of Martha Stewart Living magazine, resigned suddenly today.
Ms. Sobel is the second longtime company executive to resign during Ms. Stewart's incarceration.
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Her resignation comes less than a week before the expected release of the magazine's namesake, Martha Stewart, from federal prison. She is the second longtime company executive to resign during Ms. Stewart's incarceration. The first was CEO Sharon Patrick, who resigned last year after spending years as Ms. Stewart's business partner.

Neither Ms. Sobel nor a company spokeswoman immediately returned calls.

Ms. Sobel was also executive vice president of the magazine's parent company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. No replacement was named.

Search for replacement
Lauren Stanich, president of publishing at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, will assume Ms. Sobel's duties during the search for her successor, a company statement said.

Ms. Sobel enjoyed substantial goodwill from the advertising community even as marketers abandoned the magazine in light of Ms. Stewart's legal woes.

Exodus of advertisers
Martha Stewart Living's ad pages fell 46.6% in 2004. But in a conference call with analysts last week, CEO Susan Lyne spoke of an imminent uptick in its ad pages. Martha Stewart Living remains the company's single largest property, and accounts for about one-third of total company revenues.

"We will miss [Ms. Sobel] and wish her enormous success in the future," said Ms. Lyne in a company statement.

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