Billionaire investor Marc Lasry announced Thursday he will step down as chairman of Ozy Media, just days after The New York Times reported the company’s COO impersonated a YouTube executive on a call with potential investor Goldman Sachs.
Lasry, who is also owner of NBA champions the Milwaukee Bucks and CEO of Avenue Capital Group, was named chairman of Ozy Media exactly three weeks ago.
“I believe that going forward Ozy requires experience in areas like crisis management and investigations, where I do not have particular expertise,” Lasry said in a statement announcing his move. He added that he remains an investor in Ozy Media.
Avenue Capital’s Marc Lasry named board chairman of Ozy Media
The New York Times story published Sunday night called into question many of the promotional and journalistic practices at Ozy Media, a digital media start-up. Ozy Media routinely inflated its viewership numbers on YouTube and other platforms and misattributed glowing commentary about itself in advertising, according to the New York Times story and several follow-up reports in other outlets
Most notably, the company’s board excused the behavior of its COO Samir Rao who allegedly impersonated the YouTube executive, by blaming the incident on Rao’s mental health. The company’s board announced Tuesday that it asked Rao to take a leave of absence while it investigated the claims in the Times’ report.