Following high-profile talks for the top job at Amazon Studios that ultimately didn’t come to pass, A+E Networks CEO Nancy Dubuc is in discussions to become the CEO of Vice Media, according to Variety.
Dubuc has worked for A+E in some capacity or other since 1999, when she worked as a programming exec for History. If the deal consummates, she would take over the CEO role from Vice co-founder Shane Smith, leaving longtime A+E exec Abbe Raven to run the cable company on an interim basis. She spent eight years as the company’s CEO and will take the reins once again until a permanent successor is found.
Dubuc is expected to provide some much-needed leadership at Vice, which has been forced to fire several top executives (including Mike Germano and Jason Mojica) following sexual harassment allegations from multiple employees who have also taken aim at the company’s corporate culture, suggesting it is in dire need of repair.
The troubling office culture isn’t the only problem plaguing Vice, as the company fell short of its 2017 financial projections by nearly $100 million, according to the Wall Street Journal, and Viceland cable channel has been unable to attract a significant following since launching two years ago. Oddly enough, A+E Networks is a partner with Vice in that channel, so Dubuc has worked with Smith before.
Jointly owned by Disney and Hearst Corp., A+E Networks consists of Lifetime, History, A&E Network and others, and while Dubuc’s exit is a significant loss, at least Raven was available to step in, since she knows the lay of the land at A+E. While Dubuc’s move to Vice comes as a surprise, the A+E board had been prepared for her exit, given the public nature of her talks with Amazon and the fact that her contract expires later this year.
Vice currently produces Vice News Tonight for HBO as well as the weekly newsmagazine series Vice, but Dubuc will likely come in and expand the company’s repertoire, particularly in an attempt to further the brand’s appeal to women.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief