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Vice boss hails new ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ as Dubuc takes CEO role

Vice Media’s CEO Shane Smith has confirmed A+E Networks’ Nancy Dubuc will succeed him at youth-skewed media brand, calling them a “modern day Bonnie and Clyde” partnership.

Shane Smith

Smith is to transition to executive chairman when Dubuc (below left) takes up her new role as CEO after leaving cable channels group A+E in April.

News emerged this week that Dubuc was set to succeed Vice, which counts A+E and the latter’s parent, The Walt Disney Company, as shareholders.

Her exit from A+E accelerated after she held talks with Amazon Studios about becoming its new boss, though that role ultimately went to Jennifer Salke.

“Why Nancy Dubuc? Simply put, because rarely in business do you get to work in a perfect partnership,” said Smith. “First off, she is better than me at everything. Second, it allows me to move to executive chairman, where I can concentrate on the only things that I am good at – content and deals.

“Thirdly, 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.”

Nancy Dubuc

Though Vice is arguably the most powerful media brand for millennials and young adult audiences, it missed financial goals last year. Vice, for its part, claims 2017 resulted in record ratings and “double-digit revenue growth”. The company also took a reputational hit when a New York Times article laid bare allegations of mismanagement and ill treatment of female staff.

Dubuc’s appointment will be seen in some circles as a response to those challenges. Vice has already committed to a 50/50 male-female staff ratio at all levels of the company by 2020.

Vice revealed Smith had approached Dubuc about the role to ensure it is able to build its rapidly expanding international business and build out its production capabilities.

“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,” said Dubuc.

“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.”

Smith and Dubuc have worked closely together on the Viceland cable channel, which A+E operates in the US, though it has found capturing audiences in the States and elsewhere tough. Dubuc is also already a Vice board member.

Smith called them “a modern day Bonnie and Clyde”, adding with typical vigour: “We are going to take all your money.”