With Vice Deal Done, Refinery29 Founders Moving Out of Management Roles

Vice Media Group closed its acquisition of Refinery29 — and Refinery29’s co-CEOs and co-founders Philippe von Borries and Justin Stefano will no longer be involved in day-to-day management at the newly combined company.

In a memo to staff Monday (Nov. 4), Vice Media Group CEO Nancy Dubuc said Stefano (above left) and von Borries (above right) will “continue to help advise the new leadership team as we build a future together. They will step away from their day-to-day operational roles, but their strategic counsel will help deliver on key priorities like expanding R29 internationally, driving platform innovation, and strategic commercial partnerships.”

The closing of the deal comes about a month after Vice announced plans to acquire Refinery29, which targets millennial female audience. With R29, Vice, which undertook belt-tightening layoffs earlier in the year, is looking to gain more scale and improve its ability to reach young women.

Other management changes and updates now that Vice’s acquisition of Refinery29 is complete:

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  • Piera Gelardi will continue as Refinery29’s executive creative director and Christene Barberich will remain in her role as global editor-in-chief, both reporting to Dubuc.
  • Amy Emmerich, Refinery29’s previously president of North America and chief content officer, will expand her scope to have a global purview, reporting to Dubuc. Emmerich also will lead the 29Rooms experiential business.
  • Kate Ward, formerly president of international for R29, will also report to Dubuc and take on a new role as president of Vice Studios, overseeing Vice’s TV and film production studio, as well content sales distribution. Ward’s role includes her continuing to lead the Refinery29 originals team.
  • Danny Gabai, head of Vice Studios US, will report to Ward and continue to be based out of Los Angeles.
  • George Rogers, previously chief development officer for Refinery29, will move into to a new role as chief client officer reporting directly to Dominique Delport, Vice Media’s president of international and chief revenue officer (who reports to Dubuc). Rogers will oversee partnerships all lines of advertising business globally.
  • Vice veteran exec Hosi Simon, who has been with the company for 13 years most recently as international executive managing director, will become the company’s new COO, reporting to Dubuc. In the expanded role, Simon will oversee international operations and shared services, including production and marketing, across all businesses, as well as oversee emerging businesses globally and special projects.

Dubuc was hired as Vice Media’s CEO a year and a half ago, as co-founder and former chief exec Shane Smith stepped into an executive chairman role. Dubuc, formerly president and CEO of A+E Networks, has faced the task of moving the company toward profitable growth.

Dubuc’s other direct reports remain unchanged: Jesse Angelo, president of global news and entertainment at Vice, who joined from the New York Post this summer; Thomas Benski, CEO of Pulse Films; Danielle Carrig, chief communications officer; Hozefa Lokhandwala, chief strategy officer; Joseph Simon, chief technology officer; Susan Tohyama, chief human resources officer; and Lucinda Treat, chief legal officer.

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