Dubuc’s April departure from A&E, where she most recently served as president and ceo of A+E Networks after nearly two decades at the company, was revealed on Monday and reports swirled that she was headed for Smith’s job at Vice.
In a Tuesday note to staff, Smith said Dubuc’s hiring is being revealed to “put this speculation to rest.”
“While we tried our damnedest to have everything signed, sealed and delivered before sharing it with you and with the rest of the world, we seemingly can’t take a crap in this town without it leaking to the press,” he wrote.
A+E Networks in 2015 invested in Vice and the launch of Viceland, its fast-growing television network, and Dubuc already sits on Vice’s board.
Smith will now serve as executive chairman, where he will be a “partner” with Dubuc and “focus on strategic deals and content development,” according to the company.
Smith referred to Dubuc as a “perfect partnership” in prepared remarks and said being executive chairman will let him do what he’s good at: “content and deals.” He also noted Vice’s plans to become “the most progressive workplace in the world” with equal staff representation of men and women by 2020.
“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 added. “I get to work with one of my best friends and media heroes. [Dubuc and I] are a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde and we are going to take all your money.”
As for her decision to leave A&E, Dubuc said, “the opportunity to partner with all of the incredibly creative people across the entire company was one of those rare moments in a career.”
The Millennial-focused multimedia news outlet that last year got a $5.7 billion valuation from TPG recently found itself on the wrong side of the #MeToo movement. The New York Times published an investigation into its male-dominated workplace culture, that included former female employees alleging harassment.
Vice subsequently suspended president Andrew Creighton and fired chief digital officer Mike Germano, both of whom were named in the Times story, but sponsors wary of public perception have been a problem. This led to a planned collaboration with Vogue being put last month on indefinite hold.
The company’s reputation for a male-dominate culture preceded the last few months, however. One of its original cofounders, Gavin McInnes, is also a relatively well-known right-wing activist and the founder of an extreme “men’s rights” group. He left Vice in 2008, citing “creative differences.” A third cofounder, Suroosh Alvi, is still with the company.
For More, See: