Shane Smith, one of the founders of VICE, announced on Tuesday that Nancy Dubuc, the former chief executive at A&E Networks, would replace him as CEO of the company, signaling a major shift in leadership for the digital media outlet.
Smith, who will step into the role of executive chairman to make room for Dubuc, hailed the new management structure as the “perfect partnership” needed to usher the company into the future.
“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 said in a statement.
The announcement comes a day after Dubuc announced she was stepping down from her post at A&E Networks. Dubuc was in advanced negotiations to take over the leading role at VICE, according to a source familiar with matter, and a decision was widely viewed as imminent.
“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,” Dubuc said in a statement on Tuesday.
Dubuc has worked closely with VICE in recent years on Viceland, a 24-hour channel that the company launched in 2015 in partnership with A&E Networks. The venture landed Dubuc a seat on VICE’s board, where she developed a working relationship with Smith and other company leaders.
Dubuc’s appointment comes amid a turbulent stretch for the digitally oriented news outlet, which has come under scrutiny amid a series of allegations of sexual harassment at the company.
A New York Times expose released in December described a “boys club” workplace culture at VICE that “fostered inappropriate behavior that permeated throughout the company.”
Financially, VICE reportedly missed its 2017 revenue targets by over $100 million, a deficit largely attributed to the Viceland cable TV channel, which drew lackluster ratings.
Smith, along with Suroosh Alvi and Gavin McInnes, co-founded VICE in 1994, growing it from a small Canadian-based youth magazine to a robust digital news site that in 2017 was valued at $5.7 billion.