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Dubuc Stepping Down as CEO of A+E Networks

Nancy Dubuc is stepping down as CEO of A+E Networks.

The announcement was made by Hearst and The Walt Disney Co., which own A+E as a 50-50 joint venture.

Sources indicate Dubuc might be moving to Vice. A+E owns a stake in Vice and runs the Viceland cable network

Dubuc’s predecessor as A+E CEO Abbe Raven will return as acting chair until a replacement is found. Raven retired in 2015 after 33 years at the company.

Disney and Hearst said Dubuc decided to step down effective April 16. Dubuc had been a candidate to run Amazon Studios. She was negotiating a new contract with Hearst. When she didn't get the Amazon job, relations with Hearst soured.

“Anyone who knows me well knows I am an entrepreneur, creator, rebel and disruptor at heart. I have a famous neon sign in my office that blares ‘Who dares wins.’ After 20 years at A+E, the hardest thing will be to leave the people and company I love. But, as a creative executive and leader, and to stay true to my personal mantra, I need my next dare and my next challenge," Dubuc said in a statement.

“I have supreme confidence in the brave storytellers and management team A+E and I will always be rooting for and watching proudly from the sidelines – even as I head off to my next adventure,” Dubuc said.

Under Dubuc, A+E's A&E and History climbed to the top of the ratings on the strength of reality shows such as Duck Dynasty and Storage Wars. But as those shows faded, so did those networks' fortunes. 

In a joint statement, Steven R. Swartz, president and CEO of Hearst, and Ben Sherwood, co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney|ABC Television, said: “In her roughly 20 years at A+E Networks, Nancy played a major role in building the success of A&E, History and Lifetime, and we thank her for her leadership. We are also very grateful to Abbe, a former CEO of the company and one of A+E’s first employees, for agreeing to return on a temporary basis as acting chair.”

The move is similar to another company owned by Disney and Hearst, ESPN, where president John Skipper stepped down last year and was replaced on an interim basis by his predecessor, George Bodenheimer. James Pitaro was named president of ESPN earlier this month.

“Nancy and I have worked together for almost 20 years and I have seen the tremendous accomplishments and innovation she has brought to A+E – from its creative content to attracting award-winning talent and the digital and studio businesses she has nurtured," said Raven. "A+E is a special place with extraordinary and talented people.  I look forward to helping the board and leading the talented A+E teams during this transition.”

Jon Lafayette
Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.