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Posts Tagged ‘Susan Lyne’

Four Questions: Gilt Groupe’s Susan Lyne

100_lyne.jpgLast 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.

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Lunch At Michael’s: Lance Armstrong — For Governor?

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— DIANE CLEHANE

Remember a few weeks back when I promised Lunch readers a full report on the off chance we had our own encounter Lance Armstrong at 55th & Fifth? Well, here’s your early holiday treat. The Tour de France winner-turned-man about town was holding court at Table One today so I couldn’t resist chatting up the surprisingly shy guy. When I first spotted Lance in the power spot I was struck by how dashing (and slim) he looked in his power suit (accessorized, of course, with his own LiveStrong bracelet). All you gossipmongers out there will probably be disappointed to learn he wasn’t dining with his ex-Tory Burch or his one time canoodling partner Ashley Olsen. When I introduced myself to Lance as he got up to leave, he looked a bit nervous when he spotted me surreptitiously (or so I thought) taking notes. “What are you writing?” he asked nervously. That’s when I knew it wasn’t exactly the right time to ask about Tory or Ashley, so I told him I write this little column about who lunches at Michael’s on Wednesdays and asked him if he could tell me who he was with today. After giving the question a bit more time than one would think it warranted, he warmed up and answered. Turns out my new pal was dining with the head of his foundation, Doug Ulman and Kathy Giusti, founder of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. “She does an incredible job raising money for the prevention of that cancer,” he said. When asked why he chose to come to Michael’s (it’s his second visit in so many months), he said with a big smile, “Whenever I ask people where they want to have lunch they say, ‘Let’s go to Michael’s!” He told me he had another date planned but since he seemed a bit skittish about generating any press I promised him I’d keep mum on the specifics. In the meantime, ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong says fellow Texans are so impressed by Lance’s heroic fundraising efforts that there’s a movement afoot to draft him into running for governor of the Longhorn state. If Arnold can do it, why not?

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Lance Armstrong, Doug Ulman and Kathy Giusti.

2. Peter Brown.

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and Dorothy Kalins enjoying a long awaited “reunion lunch.” These good pals go way back to the days when Joe was founding publisher of Saveur and Dorothy was editor …

4. Would love loved to have been a fly on the wall for this one: Jim Dolan and Viacom’s Philippe Dauman.

5. Herb Siegal — congrats on your engagement! Ain’t love grand …

6. A group of gents we didn’t recognize …

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Speaking of: How to Start a Media Company

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At parties and events, some entrepreneurial journalists (is that an oxymoron or what?) have started to ask “How do you start a media company?” and I’ve even considered writing a book on the subject. But, in the meantime, if you want my thoughts (and the insights of Arianna Huffington, Craig Newmark and a few other luminaries), you can attend this Media Talk on November 7th at 6:30 pm..

Since David Carr is the moderator, I’m sure it’ll be a bunch of softball questions, too :)
Details after the jump.

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Lunch At Michael’s: A ‘Roomful of Bitches’

lunch_at_michaels_logo.jpg[EDITOR'S NOTE: Sure, the media world shuts down in late August — and our Lunch At Michael's column takes a breather to regroup — but we wouldn't let those of you chained to your desks down. This week and next we're running favorite columns from the past year, handpicked by our LaM scribe, Diane Clehane.]

We’re always kept more than occupied checking out the bold faced names in the main dining room on our weekly visits but today our radar was truly put to the test when the usually celeb-free Garden Room was the hotbed of activity with an estrogen-fueled, invitation-only lunch hosted by Peggy Siegal for Arianna Huffington. The luncheon (where no one touched dessert) brought out the most head-spinning cross-section of alpha females, power blondes and social swans we’ve seen in a long time.

The Gotham gals we spotted: Joni Evans, Karenna Gore, Naomi Wolff (who must be so proud of Al Gore‘s newfound mojo), Zoe Baird, Nora Ephron (who seemed to be traveling incognito in her dark sunglasses while checking out the dining room on her way inside), Fern Mallis, Dayle Haddon (who somehow lost her cellphone in the fray), Fran Drescher, Karen Duffy, Arlene Dahl (sporting her favorite black patent leather newsboy cap!?!), Deborah Roberts, Erica Jong, Maria Cuomo Cole, Somers White and InStyle‘s Cindy Weber Cleary. Lunchtime chronicler Diane Clehane, who was dining with OK! editrix Sarah Ivens, got the lowdown on the crowd from Joan Rivers, who summed up the afternoon thusly: “You’re better off out here! That was a roomful of bitches in there!”

Here’s a rundown of the rest of the crowd:

Table 1. A pow-wow of beauty industry bigwigs: GCI (Global Cosmetic Industry) editor-in-chief Karen A. Newman, Marc Rosen and a table full of colleagues. A photographer from Cosmetic World/Beauty Fashion hovered nearby to capture the big doings.

2. Uberagent Esther Newberg, who was spotted picking at the plate of her guest.

3. John Josephson.

4. Herb Siegal.

5. Stanley Schuman.

6. Henry Schlieff toting a Hallmark goodie bag to his lunch with newsgals Lynn White, Rosanna Scott, Jane Hansen and Penny Crone. The tireless showman was overheard asking Charles Stevenson who was seated at David Patrick Columbia‘s table about his golf game and promising to hit the links with him soon .

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Rosie On Trump @ Matrix: ‘My Goal … To Give A Bald Billionaire A Boner’

boner_1393_fbny.jpgThe ‘Boner‘ we wish Rosie’d been referring to at yesterday’s Matrix Awards

During a break in the pre-Matrix action yesterday, we poked our heads into the Waldorf Astoria ballroom where recipients of the New York Women in Communications Foundation Scholarship winners were lined up in ready to rehearse their introduction to the A-list crowd. In a clever departure from years past, when the anonymous group would silently enter and exit en masse, the aspiring media mavens each walked up to the microphone this year, introducing themselves and proclaiming themselves to be “the next [insert female media maven here]” When their turn in the spotlight came, the crowd had varying reactions to their proclaimed role models. No less than three of the young women expressed a desire to helm Cosmopolitan (the one who exclaimed she was “the next Kate White” drew the loudest round of applause), the one intrepid soul who dared admit she wanted to be “the next Bonnie Fuller” got a less than enthusiastic reaction while another hopeful who said she fancied herself Atoosa Rubenstein‘s Eve Harrington rendered the crowd all but silent.

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Rosie Goes ‘No Bullsh*t’ at Matrix Awards

rosie.jpgThe last place we’d expect to hear the “f” word is the New York Women in Communications Matrix Awards but, thanks to emcee Rosie O’Donnell, the usually inspiring event had some cringe-inducing moments that raised more than a few eyebrows during Monday’s lo-o-ng afternoon at the Waldorf. The View moderator did get some big laughs, though — most notably when she recounted a conversation she’d had with presenter Martha Stewart about her stint in prison. In a pitch-perfect imitation of the domestic diva, O’Donnell recounted an exchange they’d had in which she asked Stewart what she missed most during her days in Alderson, West Virginia. The crowd erupted when O’Donnell deadpanned, “The taste of lemon. That’s no bullshit. You couldn’t write that in an SNL skit. That’s real.” The former “Queen of Nice” also garnered guffaws when she joked that Stewart had confided that she and her mogul-turned-astronaut boyfriend were “doing it on occasion.”

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Lunch at Michael’s: Brokaw & Burns Break Bread

lunch_at_michaels_logo.jpgThe scene at 55th & Fifth was bustling as always thanks to one iconic newsman (we always sit up a little straighter when Tom Brokaw is in the room), a mix of movie moguls and the usual roundup of public relations pitchmen and women. Peggy Siegal did her usual flitting from table to table (We have to ask: what was up with that rugby striped mini dress, muffler and corduroy jacket? Homage to the Love Story era Ali McGraw, perhaps?). Paramount CEO Brad Grey did his share of glad-handing. It was introductions all around at the SRO bar, too. Michael‘s wife Kim McCarty made the acquaintance of lunchtime chronicler Diane Clehane and chatted about the couple’s upcoming trip to Paris to visit their daughter, Clancy. Bon Voyage!

Here’s a rundown of today’s menu:

1. A table of distinguished looking gentlemen including ad man Jerry Della Femina and Good Morning America‘s Joel Siegel.

2. Peter Brown and guest.

3. Ben Silverman and Matt Blank.

4. Steve Rubenstein and guests.

5. Herb Siegal

6. Leslie Stevens of LaForce & Stevens and two unidentified fashionistas.

7. Marc Victor (Happy Birthday!), producer Amy Rosenblum and Giada De Laurentiis. The Food Network hottie has been sitting on Today‘s couch as a substitute chatter during the show’s third hour. “She’s doing great!” says the always affable Marc.

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Susan Lyne’s Internet Experiment

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia CEO and president Susan Lyne told the crowd at the MPA Digital conference that people are now letting their magazine “brands” live online, when they were once wary of associating their crown jewels with a new and “raw” technology. “We’re doing our first totally blended experiment” with new mag Blueprint, she said.

“The model of launching new magazines is broken,” she continued, with very costly bulk mailings that get maybe three percent of recipients responding. By contrast, two-thirds of people who’ve signed up for Blueprint — a bimonthly that’s been published twice so far with what we’re told is a higher ad rate than flagship Martha Stewart Living — have come in through its Web site.

Lyne, on a panel with Dennis Publishing CEO Stephen Colvin and moderated by Larry Kramer, said the digital staff at MSO has grown from 25 to some 70 people since the start of the year, and Internet is a “big investment” that, like any of their investments, has to pay off relatively quickly.

Martha Stewart Execs Can Take Their Bonuses in Extra Stock

stewart_lyne.jpgAccording to a filing today with the SEC, Martha Stewart Omnimedia CEO Susan Lyne, CFO Howard Hochhauser and “other designated senior officers” can take up to $100,000 of the bonus they’d be entitled to in stock valued at 15 percent more than the cash would have been.

They do have to be continuously employed and wait three years to get it all, according to the filing. The stock conversion is valued at $19 per share, the Feb. 21 price, which means they’d lose a bit, according to today’s quoted close of $18.05.

The idea, of course, is that if they have stock instead of cash, they’ll want to make sure the company performs well for shareholders.

The full, boring filing details:

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