Dominique Delport, the well-regarded president of Vivendi Content and global managing director of advertising powerhouse Havas, is in advanced negotiations to join Vice as its head of international operations in May, Variety has learned.
In the newly created position, Delport would be based in Vice’s London office and spearhead operations across international territories, sources say. He would report directly to Nancy Dubuc, who has been tapped to take over as CEO of Vice Media from Shane Smith, the company’s co-founder.
Delport is no stranger to Vice, as Canal Plus (which is owned by Vivendi) and Vice jointly launched Viceland in France in April 2016. He also has a friendly relationship with Smith, who has tried to recruit him to Vice for years, according to an industry source.
The company’s London office, which houses both its U.K. and EMEA teams, went through a major shakeup last month, making new hires while at the same time announcing layoffs. The company hired Tamara Howe, a seasoned BBC executive, to oversee content, and Dan Constanda, a former CNN International executive, as the new CFO. The layoffs and buyouts are expected to affect about 4% of the 400-strong London workforce.
The creation of a new post overseeing all of Vice’s overseas operations underscores the company’s ambition to bolster its international business and brand around the world. Delport’s appointment to the role would also be part of a new chapter for Vice as it struggles to emerge from a tumultuous period, with Dubuc leading the charge. The company is in the process of revamping its corporate culture after Vice executives on both sides of the Atlantic were hit with sexual harassment allegations. The company says it is introducing harassment training for all staff, and has conducted an anonymous survey of employees in London to uncover any ongoing concerns.
Delport, 50, was born in the southern French city of Toulouse. He started out as a journalist and also worked as a TV producer and web entrepreneur. Over the last decade he became a driving force behind both Vivendi and Havas, as well as the right-hand man of Vivendi Chairman Vincent Bolloré.
His departure from Vivendi and Havas, where rumors are swirling about his potential exit, would be a setback for both companies. Delport is considered charismatic, highly knowledgeable – even data-obsessed – about a wide range of topics, and visionary. Upon being named president of Vivendi Content in 2015, he created and launched Studio Plus, a service featuring mobile-native short-format series (10 episodes of 10 minutes each), which allowed Vivendi to strike deals with telco services across the globe. He has also worked hard to attract millennial audiences for the company’s main brands, such as Canal Plus, Universal Music Group, Dailymotion and Gameloft.
At Havas, Delport oversees all brands, clients and commercial activities as well as all R&I for the company across 126 markets. Working alongside Havas Chairman and CEO Yannick Bolloré, Delport helped the firm adjust to new technology, data and content, and to transition its marketing and advertising activities into digital, which helped Havas gain more than 20 clients globally over the last few years.
Stewart Clarke contributed to this report.