Last week former Martha Stewart CEO Susan Lyne announced that she would be joining online luxury e-commerce start-up Gilt Groupe. Since departing Martha Stewart in June — she’d initially stepped back when Stewart was serving jail time — rumors had been rampant that she might be tapped by Time Inc. as their new CEO, instead the former ABC TV exec (she was credited for pushing Lost and Desperate Housewives) made the jump to online. FBNY caught up with Lyne and asked her about the change, how this role would differ from what she’d done before, and whether Wall Street’s recent crash has caused her to reconsider her decision.
1. Surrounding your departure from Martha Stewart there was a lot of talk about you moving over to Time Inc. Instead you’ve decided to transition online. What was it that attracted you to Gilt and the online world?
There were all kinds of rumors about where I was heading. Ann Moore and I are good friends and I think people jumped to conclusions because they saw us together. But the online world is incredibly compelling right now. There’s an energy and optimism you just don’t see in other channels. The rate of growth in online, the constant innovation, the low barriers to entry, all make it a magnet for the best creative and business talent. And Gilt is a great example of that. It’s a fantastic idea that was immediately embraced by consumers. The team is really impressive. And the opportunities for growth are enormous.