Billionaire Dan Loeb is stepping down as chairman of Success Academy, the city’s largest charter-school operator — and will be replaced by an equally monied but less controversial chief, The Post has learned.
The philanthropist investor, who has been dogged by race-tainted controversies, will be replaced by venture-capitalist board member Steven Galbraith on July 1.
Loeb, a 56-year-old hedge-fund titan, ignited a firestorm last year when he cast black state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Westchester County) as a political appendage of the teachers union.
“Hypocrites like Stewart-Cousins who pay fealty to powerful union thugs and bosses do more damage to people of color than anyone who has ever donned a hood,” Loeb wrote in a Facebook post, which he later deleted and for which he apologized.
Loeb also drew fire for a racially charged 2014 e-mail exchanges with black former Deputy Mayor Richard Buery, in which Loeb questioned the de Blasio administration’s lack of “curiosity” about charter-school achievement.
“There is right and wrong and you put your bureaucracy, the union puppets you serve, over the interest of little vulnerable black children and their families,” he wrote in one message to Buery that was published in The New York Times.
Buery, a longtime charter-school supporter who has since joined the KIPP charters network, took offense at Loeb’s tone.
“Do you really not see the hubris of your lecturing me about the plight of black children and what they need?” Buery fired back.
Loeb’s critics — including Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray — ripped his comment to Stewart-Cousins as offensive and demanded his removal.
Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz disavowed Loeb’s comments but also said his pre-existing political adversaries fanned the fiasco for maximum damage.
It is unclear why Loeb — who just recently gave Success $15 million — is stepping down as chairman now.
An unapologetic school-choice advocate whose bare-knuckles style has earned admiration from his supporters, Loeb will remain on the board. Moskowitz lauded Loeb’s tenure as chairman, noting the network’s expansion from 22 to 46 schools under his watch.
In addition to charter activism, Loeb also finances criminal-justice-reform organizations as well as LGBTQ rights groups.
Meanwhile, Galbraith, the wealthy founder of Connecticut-based Kindred Capital, has served as Success Academy’s finance-committee chair for five years. He also taught at Columbia Business School for 10 years and currently serves on the board at Tufts University.
While Success Academy has maintained high test scores and lengthy waiting lists, the network saw its main lobbying arm crater and close in February. Families for Excellent Schools shuttered amid the ouster of its CEO for sexual harassment and a high-profile lobbying failure in Massachusetts.
“I am humbled and excited to be elected chair” of Success’ board, Galbraith said. “The Success team, scholars, and their families comprise an extraordinary community that is redefining what is possible in public education.”
Moskowitz added of Galbraith, “Through his wise stewardship of our finances, Success has been able to meet the demand of parents desperate to find a high-quality school for their children.’’
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