Vice's Chief Digital Officer Leaves Following Misconduct Allegations

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Mike Germano, Shane Smith, Andrew Creighton.
Mike Germano, Shane Smith, Andrew Creighton. Credit: Illustration by Tam Nguyen/Ad Age, Composite images Getty, Youtube

The chief digital officer at Vice is no longer with the company, a Vice spokesman confirmed on Tuesday. The executive, Mike Germano, was previously suspended following a December New York Times article that reported allegations of sexual misconduct. The spokesman declined to elaborate on his exit.

Attempts to reach Germano Tuesday afternoon were not immediately successful.

Vice at the same time is combining its internal agencies, integrating the digital shop Carrot Creative, where Germano had been CEO, into the Vice creative agency Virtue Worldwide. Vice had been planning the merger of Carrot and Virtue for roughly a year, according to a press release.

By mid-day Tuesday, a landing page for Carrot redirected visitors to Virtue. "After years of co-habitation and collaboration, we've decided to take the next step in our relationship and make our union official," the page reads.

The news of Germano's departure and the merger of Carrot and Virtue was first reported by Digiday.

Since the allegations broke in the Times last month, several Vice clients have been re-examining their relationship with the company. Many, such as Ally Financial and Unilever, have been closely following the investigations involving Germano and Creighton. In the meantime, Vice has tried to alter its boys-club persona by introducing mandatory anti-harassment training and an expanded human resources department.

Virtue, Vice's twelve-year-old branded content arm, counts clients such as Google, Coca-Cola, Lululemon and Samsung.

"In a time when digital should be at the core of all agencies rather than a specialized focus, it's an exciting and natural next step for us as we round out Virtue's creative and strategic offerings with Carrot's social, analytics and tech," said Ryan Mack, president of Virtue, in a statement.

Vice's president, Andrew Creighton, who was also named in the Times story, took a voluntary leave earlier this year. The company's investigation on that front is still ongoing, according to the spokesman.

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