New York (AFP) – Vice Media announced Tuesday that co-founder Shane Smith was giving up his position as chief executive, as the youth-oriented digital group sought to move past recent turbulence.
Vice, whose image has been battered by recent reports of workplace harassment, named television industry veteran Nancy Dubuc as its new CEO.
Smith will remain at Vice as executive chairman and focus on “strategic deals and content development,” according to a company statement.
Smith said the company chose Dubuc because “she is better than me at everything” and the move “allows me to move to executive chairman, where I can concentrate on the only things that I am good at — content and deals.”
The move marks a significant change for Vice, which was founded in 1994 as a Canadian magazine and grew into an online media group with news websites and television operations, and is valued at some $5 billion.
Dubuc has been president and CEO at the cable TV group A+E, jointly owned by Walt Disney and Hearst Corp.
A+E is already a media partner and stakeholder in Vice, which has also seen investments from Comcast’s NBCUniversal, 21st Century Fox and others as it expands globally.
Vice has cultivated a “bad boy” image as it has expanded rapidly in the US and abroad, but it also has been tainted by reports of sexual harassment.
The disclosures prompted a number of high-level departures at Vice and an apology from the company.
Smith said of the CEO change: “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.”
Dubuc said: “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.”
She added that 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.”
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