Vice Media and Refinery29 restructure following deal
Vice Media has appointed a president and promoted one of its existing executives to become chief operating officer. The move comes following its deal with Refinery29.
Additionally, Refinery29 co-founders and co-CEOs Philippe von Borries and Justin Stefano are stepping down to move into advisory roles following the deal which was valued at $400m, according to reports. Co-founders Christene Barberich and Piera Gelardi will continue as global editor-in-chief and exec creative director respectively.
Kate Ward, former president of international at Refinery29, will take on the new position of president at Vice Studios, overseeing its feature film and TV production studio as well as leading the Refinery29 originals team.
Hosi Simon, will take on the role of chief operating officer, overseeing international operations and shared services including production and marketing across divisions including its Studios, television and digital arms.
George Rogers, former chief development officer and board director at Refinery29, becomes chief client officer, reporting to Dominique Delport, president of international and chief revenue officer.
Appearing at Fast Company’s Innovation Festival in New York on Tuesday, Vice Media CEO Nancy Dubuc delivered her first public comments on the merger and restructuring. “These two audiences match. Revenue diversity coming together works,” she said. “This is an acquisition not just for scale. These two brands come together and complement each other.”
The companies’ storytelling approach also has shared attitude and DNA, Dubuc added.
Even after spending 18 months as CEO of Vice, Dubuc said she continues to be struck by the consistency of the “bro culture” label attached to Vice. Founded in Montreal as a male-skewing pop culture magazine, Vice has evolved into a company valued at several billion dollars and with mainstream media companies as stakeholders.
Another concern that Dubuc talked about was the business model of Vice. Unlike a lot of other companies with significant digital holdings, she said, just one-third of Vice’s total revenue derives from advertising-dependent sources.
However, to end the talk on a lighter note, Dubuc was asked if she would describe Vice as “the biggest of the scrappy” media companies or the “scrappiest of the big,” Dubuc chuckled and picked the former.