Feb 21, 2023
Spotify Official Overseeing Rogan, Podcast Deals to Exit Company
(Bloomberg) -- Max Cutler, Spotify Technology SA’s head of audio talk shows and partnerships, is leaving the company to start a new venture.
He plans to leave on May 1, according to a company spokesperson and a memo obtained by Bloomberg News. His exit follows by nearly a month the departure of Dawn Ostroff, who oversaw content and advertising, and a subsequent reorganization of the podcast team. In a comment Tuesday, Spotify said Cutler’s departure will be accompanied by a further reorganizing of the business.
Cutler, who founded a podcasting business acquired by Spotify, plans to start a new business, according to his memo. Details on the new venture weren’t immediately available. In a memo to staff, Cutler said he believes the “future is bright at Spotify.”
A pioneer in podcasting, Cutler oversaw the company’s deals and partnerships with major creators, like Joe Rogan, Emma Chamberlain and Alex Cooper of Call Her Daddy, as the VP of talk creator content and partnerships, a role he stepped into in May of last year. He arrived at the Swedish streaming service in 2019 following the acquisition of his podcast network Parcast. He founded the network, which Spotify still runs, in 2016.
Spotify has been cutting costs in its podcasting division, canceling shows and eliminating jobs. Stockholders punished the company last year, sending the shares to their lowest level ever. The stock has rebounded by more than 50% this year, buoyed by the cost cutting and better than expected financial results reported in January.
Shares of Spotify fell as much as 4.8% to $119.26 Tuesday, joining a broad decline in stocks.
With Cutler leaving, Spotify announced that Julie McNamara, who already oversees the company’s studios and original content, will now supervise licensed exclusives as well. Bryan Thoensen, who joined the company from TikTok last year, will oversee content partnerships with third-party creators. Bill Simmons, the commentator and talk-show host, will report to Sahar Elhabashi, now head of podcast business, Simmons will continue leading the sports and culture network known as The Ringer, in addition to growing and developing podcast monetization.
During the quarterly earnings call, Chief Executive Officer Daniel Ek said he believed the $1-billion-plus spent on podcast efforts was the right move, but that he “probably got a little carried away and over-invested relative to the uncertainty [the company] saw shaping up in the market.” He said the company would focus on efficiency moving forward.
(Updates with Spotify response starting in second paragraph, comment from Cutler memo in third paragraph.)
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