- Vice confirmed Tuesday that Shane Smith was stepping down as CEO of the storied hipster media company he cofounded.
- Smith is being replaced Nancy Dubuc, the former CEO of the cable company A+E Networks.
- Dubuc joins on the heels of a rough financial year at Vice, which missed its revenue goals thanks to struggles with its TV channel Viceland.
- Dubuc also gets to deal with multiple executive sexual-harassment scandals.
Shane Smith is officially out as CEO of Vice Media, as the company confirmed earlier reports that the former A+E Networks CEO Nancy Dubuc would be replacing the media mogul.
Smith, who cofounded the $US5.7 billion media company in 1994, will move to the role of executive chairman to focus on strategic deals and content development, the company said.
“Why Nancy Dubuc? Simply put, because rarely in business do you get to work in a perfect partnership,” Smith wrote in a press release announcing the change. “First off, she is better than me at everything. Second, it allows me to move to Executive Chairman, where I can concentrate on the only things that I am good at – content and deals.”
“Thirdly, as we go forward VICE needs a best-in-class management team to harness all of this growth and control our own destiny, whether it be staying independent, strategically partnering with someone or going public,” Smith added. “Lastly, I get to work with one of my best friends and media heroes. We are a modern day Bonnie and Clyde and we are going to take all your money.”
Dubuc announced her departure from A+E on Monday, but she didn’t initially confirm her move to Vice.
“In her roughly 20 years at A+E Networks, Nancy played a major role in building the success of A&E, History, and Lifetime, and we thank her for her leadership,” Disney-ABC Television Group’s chief, Ben Sherwood, and Hearst’s CEO, Steven Swartz, who run A+E’s parent companies, said in a statement.
Dubuc’s challenge: fixing Vice’s culture and financials
Dubuc joins Vice at a time of transition and turmoil as the hipster news outlet looks to address concerns of a sexist corporate culture while proving it has the chops to meet financial targets.
Vice fired its chief digital officer Mike Germano in January over sexual-harassment allegations, and its president, Andrew Creighton, is on leave and under investigation over similar allegations.
In December, an investigation by The New York Times found four settlements related to sexual harassment and defamation at the company, including allegations against Creighton.
The Times also interviewed dozens of women who described a culture of sexual harassment and unwanted advances at the company, which positions itself as a progressive and antiestablishment media brand.
But company culture isn’t Vice’s only concern.
The company has also struggled financially since raising $US450 million at a whopping $US5.7 billion valuation in June.
Vice, which is private and does not share its financials publicly, last year missed its $US805 million revenue goal by more than $US100 million, according to The Wall Street Journal.
That miss was largely due to difficulties at Vice’s cable TV channel, Viceland, according to The Journal.
Here is Dubuc’s full statement on her new role:
“Shane and the team at VICE have done what all of us aspire to do – build a brand and make content that people really care about. VICE speaks to a generation that defines today’s cultural conversation, and the opportunity to partner with all of the incredibly creative people across the entire company was one of those rare moments in a career.
“As the next chapter of media is written by founders such as Shane and Suroosh, it’s an honour to join a brand with such tremendous opportunity and I look forward to growing the platform for decades to come.”