Ozy chairman Marc Lasry resigns following bombshell NY Times report
Billionaire businessman and Ozy Media board chairman Marc Lasry resigned on Thursday, less than a week after The New York Times published a report revealing that a top executive at the company had impersonated a YouTube staffer while speaking to investors.
“I believe that going forward Ozy requires experience in areas like crisis management and investigations, where I do not have particular expertise. 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 said in a statement obtained by Axios.
Lasry, the CEO of Avenue Capital and a co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, has been referred to as a “lead investor” in Ozy by co-foudner and CEO Carlos Watson, though sources told Axios that Lasry only invested about $1 million in a single funding round.
Another early investor into Ozy, SV Angel, reportedly surrendered its shares of the company shortly after the Times report was published.
Lasry’s resignation comes just days after veteran journalist Katty Kay announced that she had resigned from the media company after finding the details reported by the Times to be “deeply troubling.”
“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!”
In the Times report published on Sunday, sources said that Ozy co-founder and chief operating officer Samir Rao had pretended to be Alex Piper, head of unscripted programming for YouTube Originals, during a conference call with potential Goldman Sachs investors, talking up Ozy’s success on the platform.
When Goldman Sachs directly reached out to Piper afterwards, they discovered he had never been present on the call.
Watson reportedly apologized to Goldman Sachs profusely after the revelation was made, and said afterwards that Rao had been experiencing a mental health crisis at the time.
“I’m proud that we stood by him while he struggled, and we’re all glad to see him now thriving again,” Watson said of Rao.
The Hill has reached out to Ozy for comment.
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