President Michael Somoroff Steps down from Longaberger

President Michael Somoroff has exited the Longaberger Co. after six months with the CVSL-owned brand. Longaberger did not elaborate on the decision, nor whether it is looking to fill the position.

“Michael Somoroff is no longer in a management position at The Longaberger Company,” spokesman Russell Mack confirmed to DSN in an email. “The company has a fine team at the Home Office, with Tami Longaberger and a very experienced management group. We also have a wonderful and loyal group of sales field leaders, and we have a strong supporting team at CVSL. So the leadership of Longaberger is in good hands.”

Formerly based in New York, Somoroff is also a photographer and filmmaker whose work has appeared in magazines such as Vogue, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar, and in commercials for Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants. He first partnered with Longaberger last April to help the brand reinvent its annual catalog, which now features merchandise alongside stories of the brand and its people in a magazine format, titled Storybook.

The Newark, Ohio-based basketmaker has cycled through seven presidents in the past decade, amid several rounds of layoffs that have reduced the company to a fraction of its former size. Somoroff succeeded Mike Trempe, who left Longaberger last June after a 15-month stint as President and COO. The position had remained vacant in the three years leading up to Trempe’s hire.

Dallas-based CVSL Inc. acquired Longaberger in March 2013, setting in motion its strategy to build a family of micro-enterprise brands. With the addition of U.K.-based Kleeneze this month, CVSL’s growing portfolio now includes eight direct selling companies. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2014, the parent company reported revenue of $75.3 million, up 53 percent over the prior year period, and a loss of $15 million.

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News in Brief, March 2013

IRS Simplifies the Home Office Deduction

This Will Save Taxpayers 1.6 Million Hours per Year

In 2010, the most recent year for which figures are available, nearly 3.4 million taxpayers claimed deductions for business use of a home, which is more commonly referred to as the “home office deduction.” Many direct sellers take advantage of this tax savings, saving monthly phone and utility bills in order to accurately fill out the often complicated 43-line form (Form 8829).

Beginning in early 2014 for the filing of 2013 taxes, the IRS is presenting a simplified option that many owners of home-based businesses may use instead of the current form, with its depreciations and carryovers. The simplified plan allows a capped total of a $1,500 deduction per year, and does not require all the paperwork and recordkeeping demanded by the current form. The IRS estimates that small businesses will save close to 1.6 million hours annually by using the new option.

The deduction amount is based on $5 a square foot for up to 300 square feet, which is an average size for a home office. Other business expenses unrelated to the home, such as advertising and supplies, are still fully deductible.

Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller says, “The option is a common sense rule to provide taxpayers an easier way to calculate and claim the home office deduction.”

For more information, visit www.irs.gov.