Millard Off, Running To New Challenge: Martha Stewart
Millard, who joined the MSLO board of directors three years ago on the same day as CEO Susan Lyne, joins the company in her new role on July 16. Official word of her new job was issued hastily yesterday afternoon when Yahoo announced its ad sales reorganization would put a search guru at the top of a newly consolidated ad sales structure -- and that Millard would be leaving the company.
Millard's first priority, she told Online Media Daily will be to look at ways to expand the digital opportunity at Martha Stewart, which relaunched its Web site in April -- shifting more to an ad and content focus from an e-commerce orientation.
"We've got a great cross-platform story," she said. She'll also be focused on international expansion from a sales and marketing standpoint. She says she chose to turn down the international ad sales job Yahoo offered her as a transition role.
"I'm really up for something new," said Millard, who is 52 with sons now off to college. "I love media. I'm a media junkie."
While disappointed that the news did not come out in the orchestrated fashion she thought they were working on, Millard emphasized that she was fully involved with the plan to integrate the Yahoo ad and sales display teams and said she knew for weeks that she wouldn't be running it.
"Believe me, I'm the one who resigned," Millard said, speculating that Yahoo was trying to head off another "executive departing" headline. "I'm very happy."
Meanwhile, she's already off and running on selling her new MSLO gig. The role is a new one for the company and puts Millard in charge of all MSLO's media businesses, which include publishing, Internet and broadcasting. She reports to Lyne.
"What I really love is that the consumer connects so passionately with the product," said Millard, an avid entertainer who loves to throw dinner parties. "There's a huge growth opportunity ... with digital and product integration. We'll be helping marketers leverage that.
"Last year they had a phenomenal year. That was very encouraging," Millard added. "What Susan is looking for me to do is to accelerate that growth -- given my passion for all things media."
MSLO revenue rose 36% to $288.3 million in 2006, the largest growth rate since the company went public in 1999.
"I had a great six years at Yahoo," Millard said. "I love what we built. We had been left for dead. We'll be $6 billion this year."
Apart from her assistant, Millard would not speculate on other staff who might join her in her new venture.
"Wenda is a new media pioneer and entrepreneur, and I have known and admired her for a long time," said MSLO Founder Martha Stewart, who has known Millard for the better part of a decade. "Her energy, her intense commitment to the 'new,' and her interactive work style will be readily embraced in our company which is devoted to excellence, teaching, and all good things."
Before joining Yahoo, Millard served as Chief Internet Officer at Ziff Davis Media and President of Ziff Davis Internet. She was executive vice president and a founder of DoubleClick in the pre-Bubble era. Millard is also former president and group publisher of SRDS.
Among her print side jobs, she worked as senior vice president and publisher of Family Circle, and executive vice president/group publisher of Adweek, Mediaweek and Brandweek magazines. She has also won numerous industry accolades.