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Vice Shakes Up U.K.-Based Operation, Announces New Hires and Layoffs (EXCLUSIVE)

BBC alum Tamara Howe takes new content chief role

Vice Media is shaking up its U.K. and London-based EMEA team, bringing in new executives from outside the company to oversee content and finance and planning several layoffs, Variety has learned. The restructuring – to better align Vice’s U.K.-based TV and digital operations – comes amid turmoil at Vice headquarters in the U.S. over sexual harassment and corporate culture, but is not related to that, sources say.

Seasoned BBC executive Tamara Howe (pictured) will oversee content, and former CNN International exec Dan Constanda has been appointed as CFO, both of which are new EMEA-wide roles at Vice. While she was at the BBC, Howe’s roles included controller of business for comedy and entertainment, controller of production, and head of production and finance for current affairs. Vice launched a U.K. studio last year, which serves as an international hub for the company, and Howe will oversee production in Britain and EMEA, and the region-wide content strategy. Constanda has previously been CFO at AOL and Sony Music and was most recently COO at CNN International.

Other executive changes include Katherine Chandler’s elevation to COO for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Chandler, a former director of legal and business affairs at NBCUniversal, has been upped from general counsel. Howe, Constanda, and Chandler report to Matt Elek, Vice’s EMEA CEO.

Having started out as a magazine brand, Vice now has an extensive digital presence as well as the Viceland linear channel and wants to bring its TV, digital, and social operations closer together.

Last July, Vice said it was laying off about 2% of its 3,000 U.S. employees. It beefed up its staff in Britain for the launch of Vice Studio and to support the rollout of Viceland, but the new restructuring has resulted in seven immediate layoffs, six of them from the Viceland U.K. marketing team. There will be a further program of voluntary redundancies, expected to affect about 4% of Vice’s 400-strong U.K. and EMEA workforce in London.

Viceland has struggled to establish itself internationally, with Canadian cabler Rogers recently scrapping a joint venture with Vice and preparing to yank the channel in March. In Britain, audience numbers are small, but Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch recently said the satcaster remains committed to the channel. A Viceland block has just launched on Channel 4’s All4 digital service, and new distribution deals are expected to be announced shortly.

London staff were informed of the job cuts Thursday. Voluntary redundancies are expected to account for the bulk of the job losses, which sources say will be top-down, with senior execs likely to depart. None of the changes are apparently related to the harassment issues Vice is facing and which prompted it to fire and suspend execs in the U.S. and to introduce harassment training for staff and a whistle-blower service.

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