Vice Finds a ‘Cult’ Leader in the White House

Nov 18, 2014 by

truthdig

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Vice Media, a brand synonymous with edgy, hipster counterculture, has hired Alyssa Mastromonaco, a former White House official, as its chief operating officer. This is the latest move to professionalize the rapidly growing company, which likes to call itself “the Time Warner of the streets.”

As The New York Times reports:

Ms. Mastromonaco, 38, stepped down from her White House post this year. She started working for Barack Obama in 2005 after his election as senator, helping him set up his Senate office and assisting during both of his presidential campaigns. She worked as deputy chief of staff for operations at the White House from 2011 until this year and served as President Obama’s scheduling director before that.

“She inspires her colleagues, moves fast, executes flawlessly and loves coming up with the new and better way of doing something,” the political strategist David Plouffe said in a statement.

After she left the White House, Ms. Mastromonaco said, a mutual friend, Anne M. Finucane, the chief marketing officer at Bank of America, introduced her to Shane Smith, Vice’s chief executive. Ms. Mastromonaco said that she already had been a fan of Vice’s HBO series as well as its news reports, which she described as being “made for those things that you write down that you kind of understand but really want to understand more.”

From its humble beginnings in 1994 as a free punk magazine, the Vice empire is now worth $2.5 billion. In August, the company signed a $250 million deal with A&E Networks, which is owned by Hearst and Disney, and last year the company sold a 5 percent stake to 21st Century Fox for $70 million.

In characteristically sensationalist tone, Vice CEO Shane Smith said in a statement, “It’s essentially a cult, and thus a nightmare for most status quo managers.

“However,” he added, “the only thing in this world crazier and more freaky than Vice right now is the U.S. government, and, as such, I believe that there is no one out there better or more uniquely suited in their skill set of managing chaos than Alyssa.”

—Posted by Roisin Davis

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