Stewart's Company Taps Brunswick for Crisis Help
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Stewart's Company Taps Brunswick for Crisis Help

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia has hired corporate communications and crisis management specialist Brunswick Group to help deal with the fallout from charges of insider trading leveled at founder and chief executive Martha Stewart.

Paul Holmes

NEW YORK, July 9—Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia has hired corporate communications and crisis management specialist Brunswick Group to help deal with the fallout from charges of insider trading leveled at founder and chief executive Martha Stewart. The Susan Magrino agency will continue to handle consumer public relations and represent Stewart personally.
 
This is another in a growing number of high-profile U.S. assignments for Brunswick, best known as the leader in the mergers and acquisitions field in the U.K. The firm also played a major role in Enron’s PR defense earlier this year.
 
A spokesman for the firm declined to comment on exactly what it would be doing for Stewart’s company, but the consensus opinion is that the high-profile decorating maven has not handled the crisis particularly well. Last week, she abruptly canceled a live appearance on a Wednesday morning television program after CBS refused to give assurances she would not be questioned on the charges. Earlier, she ducked similar questions.
 
Congressional investigators and federal prosecutors are examining whether Stewart was in possession of inside information when she sold nearly 4,000 shares of ImClone Systems in December of last year, a day before the Food & Drug Administration officially announced it would not review the company’s application for the cancer drug Erbitux. Stewart is a personal friend of Sam Waksal, former chief executive of ImClone, who was arrested last month on charges of securities fraud.
 
The stock of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia has declined sharply on the view that it is almost entirely dependent upon the reputation of its very visible founder.
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