The CEO of the scandal-ridden Ozy Media, Carlos Watson, on Monday tried to explain away the various scandals that led to his company’s demise last week while pledging to revive the media firm despite the flight of investors and advertisers.
It’s another dramatic twist in the media company’s sudden downfall. Watson had informed employees Friday that the board had voted to shut down the company, CNBC reported.
“We were premature,” Watson said in a “Squawk Box” interview of the decision. He added that over the weekend, the company had “good conversations” with investors and advertisers.
“We have lots of things we have to do to improve, but I very genuinely feel like we have a meaningful, transformational voice,” he added. “At our best, this will be our Lazarus moment.”
It’s unclear if the company’s staff will return. Axios reported the company had 75 full-time employees.
The Times first reported last week that Samir Rao, the company’s chief operating officer, impersonated a YouTube executive on a call with Goldman Sachs while seeking out a $40 million investment. The company had also allegedly inflated viewer metrics.
That report set off a week of probing and departures from the company.
Billionaire investor Marc Lasry resigned as the chair of Ozy Media last Thursday, saying the company required experience in crisis management and investigations. Additionally, former BBC anchor Katty Kay resigned from the company.
CNBC also reported on Thursday that Watson lied when he claimed Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne invested in his company. Ozy also promised former producers that it was filming a show for A&E, which later turned out to be a lie.
— CNBC’s Alex Sherman contributed to this report.