Tech: Shane Smith is out as the CEO of $5.7 billion Vice — and a seasoned media exec is coming in to replace him

shane smith

Vice has confirmed earlier reports that A+E Networks' Nancy Dubuc will be replacing him as CEO of Vice Media.

  • Vice cofounder and CEO Shane Smith is officially stepping down from his role at the storied hipster media company, the company confirmed Tuesday.
  • Smith is 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 former A+E Networks CEO Nancy Dubuc would be replacing the media mogul as chief executive of the media company.

Smith, who cofounded the $5.7 billion media company in 1994, will move to the role of executive chairman to focus on stategic 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. 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,” Smith wrote.

Dubuc announced her departure from A+E on Monday, but 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," wrote Disney/ABC Television Group chief Ben Sherwood and Hearst CEO Steven Swartz, who run A+E's parent companies, 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 that 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 anti-establishment media brand.

But a sexist culture isn't Vice's only concern.

The company has also struggled financially since its $450 million fundraising round and a wopping $5.7 billion valuation in June 2017.

Vice, which is private and does not share its financials publicly, missed its $805 million revenue goal by more than $100 million in 2017, according 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 honor to join a brand with such tremendous opportunity and I look forward to growing the platform for decades to come.

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