Nancy Dubuc, chief executive officer of Vice Media
Christopher Goodney | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Nancy Dubuc notified Vice Media staffers on Friday that she’s stepping down from her post as CEO after five years at the company. It was not immediately clear who would replace her.
“Today Vice has an incredible opportunity in the hands of a new management team who are looking to harness the businesses we built and grew and to lay the groundwork for the future,” Dubuc said in Friday’s email. “I know you are among the most resilient, creative, and determined talent in the business and your futures are bright and hopeful.”
Dubuc joined Vice in 2018 after leaving her post as CEO of A+E Networks, where she had worked for 20 years. She succeeded Vice co-founder Shane Smith, who remained as the company’s executive chairman. A+E Networks and Vice came together in a joint venture to create the channel Viceland.
“Nancy joined VICE at a pivotal time and put in place an exceptional team that has positioned the company for long-term success,” Vice’s board of directors said in a statement Friday. “We thank Nancy for her many contributions and will soon announce new leadership to guide VICE forward into its next stage of growth and transformation.”
Dubuc’s departure comes as Vice — like its digital media peers — is facing ongoing challenges with shrinking audience numbers and advertising. In addition to growing competition for ad dollars from tech giants like Google, the media industry as a whole has been contending with a slowdown in the advertising market as macroeconomic conditions have led to uncertainty and a pullback in spending.
Vice recently restarted its sale process, CNBC reported last month. The company, which had been valued at $5.7 billion in 2017, is now likely to fetch a price tag below $1 billion, after initially looking for a valuation between $1 billion and $1.5 billion, CNBC reported.
Vice hired advisors last year to facilitate a sale process of some or all of its business, and it had been nearing a deal with Greek broadcaster Antenna Group until the talks recently stalled. Now, Fortress Investment Group, one of Vice’s lenders, is a driving force in the sale process.
Still, Vice ended 2022 with a slight gain in revenue, although the business deteriorated among the macroeconomic headwinds, CNBC previously reported. Some of its units did post a profit last year, but overall the company was unprofitable for 2022.
Read the full memo from Dubuc:
Dear Vice Media Group Team,
I am writing today with bittersweet news. It’s been an exhilarating five years since joining you at Vice, and I am incredibly proud of the important and long-lasting accomplishments we have made together. We have transformed this Company from a disparate brand to a fully formed, diversified media company complete with a thriving news organization hosting a collection of some of the most recognizable consumer brands. Your commitment to excellence, progress and ethics is unparalleled and the relationships we have built are everlasting. Which is why as the anniversary of my tenure approaches, it is so difficult to share that I have made the decision to move onto the next chapter.
I am proud to leave a Vice better than the one I joined. Together we racked up incredible wins while tackling unprecedented macroeconomic headwinds caused by the pandemic, the war in the Ukraine, and the economy all which forced us to pivot, refocus and pivot again. Despite all this the Vice, Vice Studios, Pulse, as well as Virtue, R29, i-D and Unbothered brands are strong. We reduced overhead by half and yet improved the quality of our revenues through both increased profitability and growth of returning revenues. As we face new headwinds in the marketplace Vice is now less ad dependent, and our gross margins have more than doubled.
Most important, while there’s still much work to be done, Vice is a more diverse and inclusive environment than ever.
Today Vice has an incredible opportunity in the hands of a new management team who are looking to harness the businesses we built and grew and to lay the groundwork for the future. I know you are among the most resilient, creative, and determined talent in the business and your futures are bright and hopeful.
Remember what I try to remind you, and that is to appreciate how far you’ve come. The accomplishments are far and wide— from new businesses, completely rebuilt operations and countless awards for brave work. But also remember to look ahead to the possibilities.
I’d also like to thank Shane and Suroosh for their trust and the many board members and investors along the way. I will cheer you on from the side-lines.
Left foot, right foot.