Nancy Dubuc told Vice Media employees Friday that she is stepping down as CEO after five years with the company. It was not immediately clear who would replace her.
“Vice has an incredible opportunity today in the hands of a new management team looking to leverage the businesses we have built and grown and lay the foundation 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 future is bright and hopeful.”
Dubuc joined Vice in 2018 after stepping down as CEO of A+E Networks, where she had worked for 20 years. She succeeded Vice co-founder Shane Smith, who remained as executive chairman of the company. A+E Networks and Vice joined forces in a joint venture to form broadcaster Viceland.
“Nancy joined VICE at a pivotal time and has built 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 shortly be announcing new leadership to lead VICE into the next phase of growth and transformation.”
Dubuc’s departure comes as Vice, like its digital media peers, faces ongoing challenges with shrinking viewership and advertising. In addition to the growing competition for advertising money from technology giants such as GoogleThe media industry as a whole has been grappling with a slowdown in the advertising market as macroeconomic conditions have led to uncertainty and a fall in spending.
Vice recently resumed its sales process, CNBC reported last month. The company, valued at $5.7 billion in 2017, is now likely to fetch a price below $1 billion after initially looking for a price between $1 billion and $1.5 billion, reported CNBC.
Vice hired consultants last year to facilitate a sale process of some or all of its businesses and was on the verge of a deal with Greek broadcaster Antenna Group until 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 increase in sales, although business deteriorated amid macroeconomic headwinds, CNBC previously reported. Some of its units have made profits over the past year, but overall the company has been unprofitable for 2022.
Read Dubuc’s full memo:
Dear Vice Media Group Team,
I am writing today with bittersweet news. It has been an exciting five years since I joined you at Vice and I am incredibly proud of the important and lasting successes we have achieved together. We transformed this company from a disparate brand into a full-fledged, diversified media company, complete with a thriving news organization housing a collection of some of the most well-known consumer brands. Their commitment to excellence, progress and ethics is unparalleled and the relationships we have built are eternal. That’s why, as the anniversary of my tenure approaches, it’s so hard to share that I’ve made the decision to move on to the next chapter.
I am proud to leave a Vice that is better than the one I entered. Together we have achieved incredible success while navigating unprecedented macroeconomic headwinds caused by the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the economy that have all forced us to pivot, realign and pivot again. Despite all this, the brands Vice, Vice Studios, Pulse as well as Virtue, R29, iD and Unbothered are strong. We’ve cut overhead costs in half and yet improved the quality of our revenue, both through increased profitability and growth in recurring revenue. As we face new market headwinds, Vice is now less dependent on advertising and our gross margins have more than doubled
Most importantly, while Vice still has a long way to go, it offers a more diverse and inclusive environment than ever before.
Today, Vice has an incredible opportunity in the hands of a new management team eager to leverage the businesses we have built and grown and lay the foundation for the future. I know you are among the most resilient, creative and determined talent in the industry and your future is bright and hopeful.
Remember what I’m trying to remind you of, and that’s appreciate how far you’ve come. The achievements are far and wide – from new businesses, completely rebuilt operations and countless awards for brave work. But also remember to anticipate the possibilities.
I also want to thank Shane and Suroosh for their trust and the many board members and investors along the way. I’ll be cheering for you from the sidelines.
Left foot, right foot.