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Vice Media to Lay Off 10% of Global Staff

Renae Reints

Vice Media is planning to lay off around 10% of its workforce, or 250 individuals, as CEO Nancy Dubuc attempts to make the media conglomerate profitable.

“We will make VICE the best manifestation of itself and cement its place long into the future,” Dubuc said in a memo Friday, according to CNN Business. “To this end, we’ve had to make hard but necessary operating decisions. Starting today, the next phase of our plan begins as we reorganize our global workforce. Unfortunately, this means we will have to say goodbye to some of our VICE colleagues.”

The layoffs will affect every department at Vice, said Dubuc, “from finance to TV and editorial to IT.” The restructuring aims to eliminate overlap throughout the company’s international offices and focus efforts on film/television production and branded content.

“We are creating a new operating structure around global lines of business—Studios, News, Digital, TV and Virtue,” Dubuc explained in her memo (Studios is Vice’s production unit, and Virtue is its ad agency).

Supporting departments like sales, legal, and communications will report to Vice’s Brooklyn hub or to regional offices.

Vice—founded as a punk culture magazine out of Montreal in the 1990s—was valued at $5.7 billion in 2017, following sizable investments from Fox, Disney and TPG. Although its grown past expectations that the company is merely a unicorn, Vice has struggled to own up to its ambitious valuation: Disney revealed a $157 million write-down on its stake in November.

Dubuc took over Vice’s helm in May 2018 after founder Shane Smith stepped back into his role as executive chairman following reports of a company culture tolerant of sexual misconduct. Since then Dubuc has been focused on restructuring the company into more focused, profitable operations.

Employees in the U.S., U.K., and Canada are expected to be notified of the layoffs Friday, with the remaining cuts to occur in the coming weeks. Vice will pay out employee PTO and 10 weeks of severance and medical benefits for U.S. staff, The Hollywood Reporter states. Severance packages for others will vary by country.