Ramaswamy calls for changes at BuzzFeed after acquiring activist stock

Former Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy is calling for major changes at BuzzFeed — from adding new board members to cutting staff and bringing in right-leaning talent — after acquiring an activist stake in the company.

In a letter to BuzzFeed's board of directors on Monday, Ramaswamy argued that the company has “lost its way” and “requires a major change in strategy.”

Former Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, on Saturday, February 24, 2024.

The conservative entrepreneur now owns an 8.37 percent stake in BuzzFeed, making him the company's second-largest Class A shareholder, according to the letter.

The former GOP candidate urged BuzzFeed in Monday's letter to invest in talent from “across the political and cultural spectrum,” such as conservative commentators Candace Owens and Tucker Carlson, as well as NFL player Aaron Rodgers, who famously is that he deals with conspiracy theories. .

Ramaswamy also called on BuzzFeed to admit that it “repeatedly lied on issues of national importance, and so did the rest of the media” and urged the company to add three new directors to its board of directors to increase “intellectual diversity” in its leadership.

“While your competitors focus on racial and gender diversity in the boardroom, you can become the first media company to explicitly embrace a diversity of views within your ranks,” he wrote.

“The three new directors who have expressed interest in joining your board will represent a first step in the right direction,” Ramaswamy added.

He also argued that BuzzFeed needs to “get back to startup size,” which he said will likely require “large-scale staff reductions.” The company already cut 16 percent of its workforce earlier this year.

Jonah Peretti, co-founder and CEO of BuzzFeed, responded to Ramaswamy's letter, suggesting he had “some fundamental misunderstandings about the drivers of our company, the values ​​of our audience, and the company's mission.”

“I am deeply skeptical that it makes good business sense to turn BuzzFeed into a platform for inflammatory political pundits,” Peretti said in an email. “And we're certainly not going to apologize for our Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism.”

“That said, I welcome outside perspectives from shareholders and am open to hearing more from you,” he added.

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