Of all the layoffs happening at Spotify this week, this has to be the biggest. Chief financial officer Paul Vogel, who since 2020 has managed the company’s balance sheet as it expanded into podcasting and audiobooks, is leaving the company at the end of March 2024.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said the decision was made because Vogel didn’t have the experience needed to help the company both expand and meet market expectations. The company is starting the search for a successor.
“Spotify has embarked on an evolution over the last two years to bring our spending more in line with market expectations while also funding the significant growth opportunities we continue to identify. I’ve talked a lot with Paul about the need to balance these two objectives carefully. Over time, we’ve come to the conclusion that Spotify is entering a new phase and needs a CFO with a different mix of experiences. As a result, we’ve decided to part ways, but I am very appreciative of the steady hand Paul has provided in supporting the expansion of our business through a global pandemic and unprecedented economic uncertainty,” Ek said in a statement published Thursday evening. Vogel did not issue a statement.
After testing investors’ patience with acquisitions and investments, Spotify is focusing on producing a profit, for better or worse. Much of its original podcasting operation has shuttered, including the cancellation this week of its two most prestigious shows, Heavyweight and Stolen. Approximately 1,500 people this week were laid off from product, advertising, marketing, and content, amounting to 17 percent of its staff.
Vogel is a longtime Spotify employee, joining the company in 2016 as the head of FP&A, treasury, and investor relations before being promoted to CFO in 2020. Prior to that, he had been a managing director at Barclay’s and an SVP at AllianceBernstein.
Before the news broke on Thursday, an SEC filing was posted that showed Vogel exercised 47,859 stock options on Tuesday and sold those shares at one of the highest prices Spotify has seen in two years. The sale was worth $9.38 million. Vogel had exercised options and sold stock in March and September, but this sale was significantly larger than the other two. It is possible the stock sale was previously scheduled or triggered by a stock price. Spotify did not return request for clarification on the stock sales.