Martha Stewart: Ezio Petersen/UPI/NewsCom
March 15, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST

As she prepares to appeal her conviction for lying about her suspiciously timed stock trade, Martha Stewart has lost two jobs and gained another. On Monday, she announced that she was stepping down as the chief creative officer and as a member of the board of directors of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSO), a move meant to distance her from the company she founded that bears her name, and whose stock price has fallen in the wake of her felony conviction on March 5. However, she said she would take a new position within the company, as ”founding editorial director,” so that she could continue to provide the homemaking ideas that are the firm’s stock in trade.

”I am taking this action today because it is in the best interests of MSO and because I think it’s the right thing to do,” Stewart said in a company statement. ”I am heartsick about my personal legal situation — and deeply sorry for the pain and difficulties it has caused our employees.”

”Everyone at MSO recognizes the seriousness of Martha’s situation and is deeply saddened,” said Sharon Patrick, the CEO who is Stewart’s new boss. ”However, all of us also believe that the company and our constituencies benefit most if we are able to continue to take advantage of Martha’s creative inspiration and capitalize on her prodigious skills and experience in the domestic arts — from cooking, to gardening, to crafts, to homekeeping.” No word yet on how extensive Stewart’s role will be as ”founding editorial director,” or who will replace her on the board.

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