Hozefa Lokhandwala will step down as co-CEO of Vice Media Group to start “a new endeavor,” he said in a memo to staff Thursday. Bruce Dixon, formerly co-CEO alongside Lokhandwala, will now be the sole CEO.
Lokhandwala’s exit comes after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and in July 2023 closed a $350 million sale to a group of its former lenders, Fortress Investment Group, Soros Fund Management and Monroe Capital. Last month, Vice Media announced another round of layoffs, after several Vice News shows failed to get renewed, and consolidated its five operating divisions down to two. The latest layoffs eliminated fewer than 100 jobs. Vice Media most recently had just over 1,000 staffers worldwide; at one point, it counted about 3,000 employees.
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Lokhandwala has been at the company since 2018, formerly serving as chief strategy officer. Before joining Vice Media, he worked at JP Morgan, most recently as managing director, head of content and entertainment investment banking. Lokhandwala and Dixon were named co-CEOs after former chief Nancy Dubuc left Vice Media Group in February.
“We are at a moment in time where the company is in a place with strong leadership and a new board, that I felt I could take this opportunity to leave and spend some time with my family and friends, before starting a new endeavor,” Lokhandwala wrote in the memo.
Brooklyn-based Vice Media Group’s digital publishing brands include Vice.com and Refinery29. Its studios group has two projects in the upcoming Sundance Film Festival – “DEVO” and the Tammy Faye docuseries “Better Angels” executive produced by Elton John and David Furnish. It also recently released “Superpower” with Sean Penn, now streaming on Paramount+, and “Encounters,” produced with Amblin Entertainment, now streaming on Netflix. The company also operates creative ad agency and cable network Vice TV.
Read the nemo from Lokhandwala:
It’s been an incredible journey together, but today I am writing to you all to let you know that I have made the decision to leave VICE and my role as Co-CEO of the company. I didn’t come to this decision easily. As many of you know I live and breathe the brand, love the content we make and feel incredibly close to all the teams that make all of this possible, but I decided that it’s time for me to start on my next chapter. We are at a moment in time where the company is in a place with strong leadership and a new board, that I felt I could take this opportunity to leave and spend some time with my family and friends, before starting a new endeavor.
I came to VICE in 2018 but I was not a stranger to the company. I was a consumer, first picking up the magazine in the Stussy store when VICE first came to NYC. I had participated in many of the “experiential events” in the early days in Brooklyn and followed its progress as it grew into its aspirations. As an advisor to VICE, I helped start and finance a fledgling VICE Studios and worked on a number of other transactions for the company. I took a leap to join VICE in 2018 as Chief Strategy Officer and never looked back. We have gone through significant challenges as a company and there have been many tough things that we have faced together, but we did it as a team and through it all we continue to see the promise of what VICE is and can be. We have accomplished a great deal together and while there is more work to do, it’s clear VICE is on the path for a stronger brighter future.
I will miss our time together and as difficult as it is to say goodbye, I am excited to start on my next adventure and I know I can do that because of the leadership in place. Bruce has been an incredible partner across the board and in him you have a strong leader to continue the work we have been doing to build a strong sustainable company for the future. He loves this company and the people here. I feel thankful for his friendship and partnership through it all – you are truly in good hands.
I want to take a moment to thank all of you at VICE for all your hard work and the effort you put into making this amazing place hum. Work together, lock in and focus on the future opportunities – the best days are ahead of you. Thank you to Bruce, Shane and the leadership team, with whom I have spent significant time working through it all. Thank you to the Board who trusted and supported me and this team. It’s been a privilege and a pleasure leading this company and with love and respect I wish you all incredible success for VICE’s future.
Here’s the memo Dixon sent to staffers about Lokhandwala’s resignation:
You’ve just heard from Hozefa about his decision to step down as co-CEO. This is a tough day for me and I’m sure for many of you. Hozefa has been an inspiring partner, colleague and friend to many of us. He has been a source of tremendous support and a powerful advocate for change as we have done the difficult work of reshaping VMG, transitioning to a new ownership structure and putting the company on a new path for success.
While we understand and respect his decision, it’s natural for such transitions to bring about a mix of emotions. We’ve seen a number of leadership changes this year as we continue with the hard but important work of building a strong and sustainable future for VMG.
Change, though challenging, provides an opportunity for growth and renewal. I’m confident that, as a united team, we will continue to deftly navigate these transitions. Your professionalism, resilience, and teamwork have always been our greatest strengths, and I have full confidence that these qualities will guide us through the current period of adjustment and will help to build a future of stability and growth.
Please join me in wishing Hozefa the utmost success in his next chapter, and in thanking him for all that he’s contributed to VMG. We’ve benefited enormously, not just from his expert leadership and sound business acumen, but also his regular reminders of why this brand means so much to so many people and why we’re working so hard to see it through to its next stage of success.
Feel free to reach out if you have any questions. Our leadership team is here to support you, ensure a smooth transition and foster an environment where everyone can thrive. There’s no better team in the business, and I’m confident that together we’ll build on our success and embrace VMG’s future with optimism and a renewed commitment to the mission of this great company.
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