Ozy Media to Shut down, after Revelations of Questionable Practices

Ozy Media is closing. Per a statement from the company’s board of directors: “At Ozy, we have been blessed with a remarkable team of dedicated staff. Many of them are world-class journalists and experienced professionals to whom we owe tremendous gratitude, and who are wonderful colleagues. It is therefore with the heaviest of hearts that we must announce today that we are closing Ozy’s doors.”

This news comes just days after Marc Lasry, a billionaire businessman, was named chairman of Ozy Media earlier in the month. He cut all ties with the failing organization.

“I believe that going forward, Ozy requires experience in areas like crisis management and investigations, where I do not have particular expertise,”He said this in a statement. “For that reason, I have stepped down from the company’s board. I remain an investor in the company and wish it the best going forward.”

Lasry is the owner and chief executive of the Milwaukee Bucks. He also heads a hedge fund that raised $35M in 2019 for Ozy. The chairman’s role was to oversee strategic planning and assist Ozy with large partnerships including mergers and acquisitions.

Lasry’s exit came a day after former BBC News anchor and correspondent Katty Kay, who had just joined Ozy Media in late June, also departed. The exodus comes following revelations of the digital company’s practices, led by CEO Carlos Watson.

The Ozy shakeup occurred quickly following a New York Times column by Ben Smith. Smith revealed that Ozy Media chief operational officer Samir Ral was impersonating a YouTube executive during a call to potential Goldman Sachs investors. Rao has now taken a leave of absence from the company, and his bio has been removed from Ozy’s website.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP had been hired to conduct a review of the company’s business activities.

Lasry stated in the Times article that “the board was made aware of the incident, and we fully support the way it was handled.”


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