In a statement, Lasry said he would continue to be an investor in Ozy, but he felt he didn’t have the skills necessary to steer the company out of its current predicament.
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“I believe that going forward, Ozy requires experience in areas like crisis management and investigations, where I do not have particular expertise,” he said 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 of the Milwaukee Bucks and head of a hedge fund that raised $35 million in funding for Ozy in 2019. As chairman, the goal was to oversee strategic planning, and help Ozy handle large partnerships, including mergers and acquisitions.
“He’s not just a figure head,” Oxy CEO Carlos Watson told Axios earlier this month in announcing Lasry as chairman. “He’s helping us build something really special.”
Lasry’s exit comes 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.
“Yesterday morning I handed in my resignation to Ozy Media,” Kay wrote on Twitter. “I was looking forward to working with the talented young reporters but I did not expect this!”
The Ozy shakeup comes following a New York Times column, by Ben Smith, who revealed that Ozy Media chief operating officer Samir Rao impersonated a YouTube executive on a call with 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 is currently conducting a review of the company’s business activities.
In the Times piece, Lasry said that “the board was made aware of the incident, and we fully support the way it was handled.”
Also as part of the news, Ozy’s board of directors has hired a law firm to review the company’s practices.
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