December 17, 2018

Nancy Dubuc, Head of A&E Networks, Is in Talks to Take Over Vice Media

In response to the article, Mr. Smith and Suroosh Alvi, who founded Vice Media with Mr. Smith, said in a statement that “from the top down, we have failed as a company to create a safe and inclusive workplace where everyone, especially women, can feel respected and thrive.” They said that a “boys club” culture at Vice had “fostered inappropriate behavior that permeated throughout the company” and pledged a number of changes, including pay parity by the end of 2018.

Since then, Vice’s leadership has been in turmoil. Its chief digital officer, Mike Germano, left the company after it looked into harassment allegations against him. The company’s president, Andrew Creighton, has been on leave while the board reviews a $135,000 settlement involving sexual harassment allegations against him from a former employee. And in February, a former employee sued the company, claiming that it had marginalized women and systematically discriminated against them by paying men substantially more for similar work.

News that Ms. Dubuc was in talks to take on the chief executive job at Vice was first reported by Variety.

Her future has been the subject of intense speculation in the media industry over the past two months.

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Ms. Dubuc was a finalist for the top job at Amazon Studios, a position that ultimately went to the NBC executive Jennifer Salke (Ms. Salke started at Amazon on Monday).

Around the time that Ms. Salke was offered the job last month, a person close to Ms. Dubuc said that she had grown weary of the extended interview process and removed herself from the proceedings with the plan of signing a contract that was waiting for her at AE Networks, which counts AE, History and Lifetime among its stations. Her return seemed like a settled matter.

Even in the chatty confines of the media business, few people foresaw that the top Vice job would be in Ms. Dubuc’s future.

Ms. Dubuc and Ms. Salke are prominent female media executives who have made huge moves in recent months, at a time when female leadership is at a premium. The Fox TV group co-chief executive, Dana Walden, has a contract that is expiring this summer, and her next move is also being watched with keen interest within the entertainment industry.


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Ms. Dubuc plans to step down from her post at AE on April 16. Abbe Raven, a longtime AE executive who retired from the company in 2015, will lead the company until a replacement is found, Hearst and Disney said in a statement announcing Ms. Dubuc’s departure.

In the statement, Ms. Dubuc said that she had called AE Networks home for nearly 20 years and was ready for a new challenge.

“Anyone who knows me well knows I am an entrepreneur, creator, rebel and disruptor at heart,” she said. “I have a famous neon sign in my office that blares ‘Who dares wins.’ After 20 years at AE, the hardest thing will be to leave the people and company I love. But, as a creative executive and leader, and to stay true to my personal mantra, I need my next dare and my next challenge.”

John Koblin contributed reporting.

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