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Dubuc named Vice CEO

Youth-skewing media group Vice Media has confirmed that A+E Networks CEO and president Nancy Dubuc will replace Shane Smith as its CEO, with the latter becoming executive chairman.

Nancy Dubuc

Dubuc has been at Disney- and Hearst-backed A+E for almost two decades and has been CEO for the past five, overseeing networks including A&E, History, Lifetime and FYI, as well as global division A+E Networks International.

Confirmation of her appointment comes after she was strongly linked with a move to the company earlier today. Smith, the company’s founder, said he would focus on content and deals in his newly created position while Dubuc will “strategically position the company for its next phase of growth.”

During her reign as A+E CEO, Dubuc launched production division A+E Studios, which has been behind shows such as Six and the reboot of Roots, and worked with Smith on US network Viceland, a joint venture between Vice and A+E.

Shane Smith

Smith described the partnership with Dubuc as “perfect” and said she had been appointed to the role because “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.”

Dubuc’s appointment comes after Vice was embroiled in a string of allegations of inappropriate behaviour, first reported by The New York Times, that have resulted in some of its top execs leaving the company, something not referred to in Smith’s statement today.

The company, which is backed by corporate giants including Disney (10%) and 21st Century Fox (5%), has also struggled to hit recent revenue projections. However, Vice said in a press release that 2017 was “its best year in its 23-year history,” with “record ratings and traffic across its digital, mobile and linear platforms among the 18- to 34-year-old audience.”

It has also recorded “double-digit revenue growth” and struck numerous multi-platform distribution deals around the world. The company said it has also “taken a number of recent steps to ensure its workplace becomes one of the most progressive in the world, including a commitment to 50/50 by 2020 across all levels of the company including management.”

Vice added that it had “sought out” Dubuc to lead the company, with the A+E veteran previously linked with the top job at Amazon Studios that was eventually filled by former NBC Entertainment chief Jennifer Salke.

The media group called its incoming boss “an experienced chief executive with an unmatched track record when it comes to both running a sprawling international media company and producing and distributing award-winning programming.”

Dubuc, meanwhile, said 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.”

The exec, who joined A+E in 1999, will be replaced on an interim basis at A+E by the company’s former CEO Abbe Raven, who becomes acting chair having retired in 2015 after more than 30 years with the company.


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