- Vice Media has lost several high-ranking people at its ad agency, Virtue Worldwide.
- The latest exits impacted Virtue’s Los Angeles office, which is known for buzzy work for clients like Weedmap’s Museum of Weed in LA.
- Heavily funded but money-losing Vice is counting on the agency to help it get to profitability.
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Vice Media has lost several more high-ranking people at its ad agency, Virtue Worldwide, Business Insider has learned.
These exits include top leaders at Virtue’s Los Angeles office, which is known for high-profile work for clients like Weedmap’s Museum of Weed in LA; Netflix; and Target. They come as heavily funded but money-losing Vice is counting on the agency to help it erase its losses.
The people include:
- Adam Katzenback, the office’s managing director, who is leaving. He had been the longtime president of Carrot Creative, which Vice acquired in 2013 and combined with other units in 2017 to form Virtue Worldwide.
- Jonathan Santoro, executive creative director, who left in the past few months. He previously had several roles at Carrot Creative going back to 2013, rising to managing director, executive creative director.
Three others left the LA office in the past several months and joined Gram by Gram, a new cannabis agency that was started by Vice alums and is an offshoot of the Merry Jane digital media company founded by Snoop Dogg and Ted Chung. They are:
- Noah Atkinson, design director and an employee since 2012, and left in December 2019.
- Chris Domenick, former senior account director, who left in November 2019.
- Don Kim, who was creative director until May 2019.
A string of other Virtue leaders left last year while the agency appointed new leaders including Rob Newlan and Krystle Watler.
Agencies all experience turnover, but this is a particularly important time for Vice as it strives to get to profitability early this year, and Virtue seen as playing a key role in getting there. The LA office was established with Carrot Creative, the agency Vice media acquired in 2013, and was seen as important to landing new clients on the West Coast.
In addition to the much buzzed-about Museum of Weed, the office’s recent work included Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty League and the Versus series project with Amazon Music.
The office had around 20 at its peak but is now believed to be down to a handful, people with direct knowledge and who are known to Business Insider but spoke on condition of anonymity. Elsewhere, Vice Media is consolidating its New York offices to two from three, moving its agency Virtue Worldwide from its longtime home in Dumbo to Williamsburg in Brooklyn.
Vice Media sees Virtue as a bright spot and has been putting more resources into the agency. It grew its revenue 25% last year, a spokesperson said. The agency also is looking to hire 100 people this year, on top of the 400 it has worldwide, with four new hires coming to the LA office, according to someone with direct knowledge of the situation who asked to remain anonymous, though, including four new hires that it’s making in the LA office.
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