the co-founder, brand avatar and most visible face of Vice Media, is handing the chief-executive position over to A+E Networks CEO
as he steps into the role of executive chairman, the company said Tuesday.
Ms. Dubuc, who announced her departure from A+E Networks on Monday, has been a board member of Vice and a confidant of Mr. Smith’s for several years. She led A+E Networks’ $250 million investment in Vice Media, a deal that turned A+E’s History Channel spinoff, H2, into the Viceland channel.
“We are a modern day Bonnie and Clyde and we are going to take all your money,” Mr. Smith said in a statement.
Mr. Smith praised Ms. Dubuc as “better than me at everything” and said her taking over as CEO would allow him to concentrate on “the only things I am good at—content and deals.”
Ms. Dubuc will help Vice hit revenue targets and turn a profit, goals set by investors who have been eager for an exit and frustrated by the company missing its revenue target last year.
In the statement, Mr. Smith said all options are on the table. “As we go forward, Vice needs a best-in-class management team to harness all of this growth and control our destiny, whether it be staying independent, strategically partnering with someone or going public.”
Vice had been seeking a seasoned executive to help support Mr. Smith for some time, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Smith reached out to Ms. Dubuc a few weeks ago to begin talks about the job.
As Vice has grown rapidly into the most valuable digital-media company, valued at $5.7 billion in its most recent fundraising round, it has had growing pains. Ms. Dubuc will need to help evolve an edgy, youth-centric culture that has been accused of being unfriendly to women. The company apologized for running a “boys club” in December after the New York Times reported sexual-harassment allegations against some of its executives.
“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,” Ms. Dubuc said in the statement. “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.”
Write to Keach Hagey at firstname.lastname@example.org