Martha Stewart's 2012 Compensation Virtually Unchanged at $5.5 Million

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Martha Stewart.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, the lifestyle media company she founded, says recently departed CEO Lisa Gersh earned $1.51 million, down from $3.76 million in 2011.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia said on Thursday that founder Martha Stewart's compensation for 2012 amounted to $5.46 million, down minimally from $5.50 million in 2011.

Her base salary remained unchanged at $2 million, with her "other compensation," such as on-air talent and name licensing fees, rising from $3.2 million to nearly $3.5 million, a regulatory filing on Thursday showed. However, she didn't get stock option awards in 2012 as she had done in 2011.

Recently departed Lisa Gersh, who served as CEO in 2012 before departing in February, earned $1.51 million last year, down from $3.76 million in 2011.

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"In accordance with her employment agreement, Ms. Gersh is also entitled to receive cash severance payments of up to a total of 18 months’ salary ($1.275 million), the filing said. "Of this amount, 12 months of her base salary ($850,000) was paid in April 2013. The remaining six months’ salary ($425,000) is due in the form of salary continuation starting on February 7, 2014, but is subject to offset by compensation received from subsequent employment."

Gersh also received stock options and restricted stock units that vested when she left the company.

The lifestyle media company has been focusing on returning to profitability.

Among other steps, Stewart, who is now also non-executive chairman, recently agreed to a salary cut to $1.8 million. 

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Her annual license fee payment -- which covers the company's rights to "the intangible asset consisting of Martha Stewart’s lifestyle" – will be reduced by $300,000 to $1.7 million, effective Sept. 15, which is the date at which the next annual payment is due.

"During the past year, we took important steps to position Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’s businesses to take advantage of the exciting opportunities ahead," Stewart and interim principal executive officer Daniel Taitz wrote in a letter to shareholders published on Thursday. "The foundation of these efforts comprises our expanding, profitable merchandising operation and a media business that is evolving to deliver our content to consumers wherever and however they want to engage with it."

They added: "The steps we have taken to position MSLO are vital for the company’s future, but we also know that they will only prove successful if we produce financial returns for stockholders that are commensurate with the value we provide consumers. It is up to us to deliver those returns."

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