Read the Explosive Resignation Letter Sent By the Chairman of Sports Illustrated's Publisher "In my more than 30 years inside of public and private companies, I've never witnessed more negligence in my career."

By Kelsey Vlamis

Key Takeaways

  • Ross Levinsohn resigned as the chairman of The Arena Group, the publisher of Sports Illustrated.
  • Levinsohn wrote an explosive letter accusing the board of "illegal" and negligent behavior.
  • He also cited the recent layoffs at Sports Illustrated and union-busting tactics.
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Ben Gabbe/Getty Images
Ross Levinsohn attends the 2013 Adweek Hot List gala at Capitale on December 2, 2013 in New York City.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Ross Levinsohn blasted The Arena Group's board of directors in a resignation letter, citing the recent layoffs at Sports Illustrated and accusing other board members of illegal and negligent behavior.

Levinsohn is the former CEO of The Arena Group — which publishes Sports Illustrated, Men's Journal, and other media brands. He was ousted as CEO in December, weeks after Sports Illustrated was accused of publishing AI-generated articles under fake author names, but remained chairman of the board.

Sports Illustrated laid off most of its staff last week, leaving the future of the iconic magazine up in the air.

He initially posted about his resignation on LinkedIn last week, but leveled new accusations in his outgoing letter, which is undated.

In the letter, Levinsohn cited the layoffs and "union-busting tactics" as reasons for his resignation. He also accused the board of acting illegally and negligently. He did not provide details on his accusations but said he anticipates shareholder lawsuits.

Levinsohn declined to comment to Business Insider.

In a statement, The Arena Group said: "The Company disagrees with the comments in the Resignation Email. The Company believes that Mr. Levinsohn's comments are reflective of a disgruntled former executive who was terminated on December 11, 2023."

"The members of the Board take their fiduciary duties and responsibilities seriously," the company continued in its statement. "The Company's decisions regarding operating expenses, strategic transactions, or otherwise, followed thoughtful process and deliberation and were determined to be in the best interest of the Company and its stockholders."

Read Levinsohn's resignation letter below:

To The Arena Group and the Board of Directors thereof:

Effective immediately, I am resigning my position as a board member of The Arena Group.

The abhorrent actions of this board over the past six weeks leave me no choice but to resign, despite the years of my life I have put into this company and my fear that the actions which have been taken over the past several months have put this company, its employees, and shareholders at significant risk. The feckless actions and boards inability to stand up to the demands of a minority shareholder and his two board representatives has placed the company in severe distress, and watching what is transpiring in real time makes it impossible to continue to serve. Today's obliteration of Sports Illustrated's storied newsroom and the union busting tactics is the last straw. These actions and the inaction of this board are illegal, riddled with self-dealing, and will almost certainly lead to shareholder lawsuits. In my more than 30 years inside of public and private companies, I've never witnessed more negligence in my career.

Ross Levinsohn

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