Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSO) CEO Daniel Dienst
Started as CEO: Oct. 28, 2013
Total Return of MSO: +77%
Total Return of S&P 500: +4%
When Daniel Dienst was named to head Martha Stewart’s media company last year, it puzzled many people since his background was in the scrap metals industry and he didn’t have any experience in the media sector.
When asked about his lack of experience, Dienst replied that it was an asset, not a liability, adding, “I’m not burdened by history.”
But even if he had experience in the media and licensing worlds, there is little Dienst can do to right the fiscal ship at MSO besides fire employees … and he has done that already. New York-based MSO has only turned an annual profit once in the past decade, and MSO shares have shed nearly 90% since Stewart was released from the slammer after being convicted for lying about a stock sale. Meanwhile, the domestic diva has been awarded lavish compensation.
Although MSO shares have rebounded enormously against a barely-in-the-black market since Dienst’s hiring, keep in mind that this stock is fairly well shorted (6.9% of the float as of the end of January) and expectations are quite low.
Putting Dienst on the list is perhaps the easiest call, however, simply because Martha Stewart Omnimedia CEOs don’t last long. They have the trying task of working with the company’s namesake, and if Lisa Gersh, Susan Lyne and Wenda Harris Millard couldn’t do it, odds are Dienst won’t be able to, either.