(Bloomberg) -- The architect of Spotify Technology SA’s podcasting strategy, including the signing of controversial commentator Joe Rogan, is leaving the company after almost five years, according to people with knowledge of matter.
Courtney Holt will depart Spotify in the coming weeks and take on a yearlong advisory role, according to the people, who asked not to be identified discussing a personnel matter. Julie McNamara, head of U.S. studios and video, and Max Cutler, head of new content initiatives, will split Holt’s responsibilities, the people said.
Under Holt, Spotify pushed hard into the field, with acquisitions including the podcast networks Gimlet, Parcast and the Ringer. He also helped push through high-profile deals with Barack and Michelle Obama and Rogan.
But the business also had growing pains. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Archewell Audio has yet to debut its first podcast, more than a year after their deal with Spotify was announced, while the Obamas’ Higher Ground is reportedly shopping for a new deal. Last week, Lydia Polgreen, managing director of Gimlet Media, said she is leaving for a role at the New York Times.
The company also battled controversy when some musical artists began pulling their works from the service in protest over racial comments and alleged Covid-19 misinformation from Rogan, Spotify’s top podcasting personality. Dawn Ostroff, Spotify’s head of content and advertising business, brought in McNamara, a TV veteran, to lead the U.S. studios and video in September.
Holt doesn’t come from a programming background. He joined Spotify in 2017 after stops at the YouTube network Maker Studios, the social network MySpace and Universal Music Group. His plans to leave were reported earlier Tuesday by the Ankler.
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