Ozy Media Board Announces Investigation of Business Practices

Ozy Media CEO Carlos Watson in New York City at a 2018 event.

Photo: Matthew Eisman/Getty Images for Ozy Media

The board of directors of online news magazine Ozy Media said it was conducting an investigation into the company’s business practices following a New York Times report that raised questions about the company.

In a statement, Ozy’s board of directors—which includes Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry —said that it has hired the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison LLP to “conduct a review of the company’s business activities.”

On Sunday, the New York Times reported that Ozy Chief Operating Officer Samir Rao impersonated an executive from Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube on a fundraising call with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Carlos Watson, Ozy’s CEO, said in a statement on Twitter Sunday that Mr. Rao’s behavior on the call was “deeply unfortunate” and attributed his behavior to a mental health issue.

In its statement, the board said that it has asked Mr. Rao to take a leave of absence pending the investigation. The board said that Harry Hawks, the former executive president and chief financial officer of Hearst Television, has agreed to serve as interim CFO during the review.

Write to Benjamin Mullin at Benjamin.Mullin@wsj.com

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Appeared in the September 29, 2021, print edition as ‘Ozy Media Directors Investigate Practices.’

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