Paul Vogel to exit Spotify; search for new CFO begins

Spotify’s well known Chief Financial Officer, Paul Vogel, will leave the company in April. A search for his replacement is underway as of now. All this in a straightforward announcement.

It will be a fairly short tenure for Vogel, who took the role in January, 2020. At that time he led a few teams at Spotify — Investor Relations, Financial Planning & Analysis, and Treasury. He joined Spotify nearly eight years ago.

Before this stint, Vogel worked at executive positions in finance companies — among them Morgan Stanley, Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, Baron Capital Group, AB, and Andor Capital Management, and OpenSky.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek’s plainspoken announcement goes like this: “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.”

We observe some surprise and implied criticism of the plainspoken, non-adulatory tone of the announcement. It’s worth remembering that the message was posted on Spotify’s investor website, and is delivered in the unemotional language of finance.

At any rate, Daniel Ek’s rationale for the change is in line with remarks and corporate maneuvers in the second and third quarters of this year. (Vogel was an active participant in those calls.) In the Q1 earnings report, Spotify acknowledged that its high-cost growth and acquisition period would be ramped down in favor of disciplined management to attain profitability. Today’s message and its execution resonate happily with investors, as the stock’s trendline indicates:

Ben Kung, Vice President of Financial Planning and Analysis, will take on expanded responsibilities to support the company’s realignment of its financial leadership team, Spotify says.

Brad Hill