When television veteran Nancy Dubuc took over as CEO of Vice Media in the spring of 2018, cash was so tight that company executives were debating whether they should cancel the Friday morning ritual of free donuts and bagels for staff. Once the irreverent darling of the new media sector, known for its online news and TV documentaries, Vice was facing a cash crunch amid allegations of sexual harassment and a boys’ club culture under co-founder and former CEO Shane Smith. Some advertisers had suspended their campaigns.
Within months, Dubuc had cut about 10% of Vice’s 2,500-number workforce and slashed expenses elsewhere, cutting out the Friday morning donuts but, in an effort to maintain morale, keeping the bagels. Since then, she has reduced losses from more than $100 million in 2018 to around $20 million last year, with the company turning a profit in the fourth quarter, according to people familiar with the situation.