The board of directors of Ebony Magazine has removed CEO Willard Jackson, Jr. after an an independent inquiry into a number of unspecified transactions led by him raised questions. The investigation is ongoing, the company said, but would not detail what that entailed or its effect on the publication.
“The board of directors individually and collectively understands the legacy and value of Ebony to Black communities globally,” said Jacob Walthour Jr., newly-elected chairman of Ebony’s board and cofounder of Blueprint Capital Advisors, a black-owned asset manager. “Founder John H. Johnson conducted himself and Ebony business with a level of class, integrity, and honor that has come to define Black professionalism in America. While the Board expects that Ebony will always need to adapt its business model to stay relevant, it must never compromise the core values of Mr. Johnson.”
The board of directors said it will appoint an interim CEO and operating committee. As part of the board’s engagement, they are prioritizing the payment of delinquent compensation to Ebony employees, but didn’t provide further details on what was owed or the reason for the delay.
Jackson is a partner in CVG Group, which purchased Ebony in 2016. The acquisition was financed by Parkview Capital Credit Inc. (PCC) through a series of loans. The management of PCC was recently taken over by Blueprint Capital Advisors in April 2019.
Ebony was first published in 1945, and will turn 75 years old on Nov. 22 of this year.