On the heels of news that Spotify CFO Paul Vogel had cashed in on nearly $9.5 million in company stock directly before his departure’s announcement, Digital Music News has discovered more executives dumping shares following a post-layoff stock bounce.
The newest developments in Spotify stock’s selloff saga have emerged in SEC regulatory filings unearthed by Digital Music News this morning. Earlier this week, shares in the music streaming giant (NYSE: SPOT) spiked in value after the business disclosed plans to trim 17 percent of its team, or roughly 1,500 people.
As it stands, SPOT, hovering around $200, is up a cool 140 or so percent from 2023’s beginning and even more than that from early December of 2022. The sweetener — at least from Wall Street’s perspective — has been a post-layoff stock jump that has held steady since the company announced the staffing reductions.
It’s against this backdrop that Vogel, having started as CFO in 2020, sold $9.38 million in Spotify stock, we reported on Thursday. Seemingly not coincidentally, Spotify yesterday revealed Vogel’s departure – which could have been set in motion by the optics associated with securing a massive stock-sale payday amid far-reaching layoffs.
In any event, Vogel’s exit is officially scheduled for March 31st, 2024, though the precise extent of his day-to-day duties in the interim is unclear. Spotify’s in the process of bringing on a replacement, with Ben Kung, VP of financial planning and analysis, assuming “expanded responsibilities to support the company’s realignment of its financial leadership team” until a successor’s appointed.
Also supporting the possibility of an abrupt departure is the fact that Vogel didn’t provide a statement for the corresponding release. Spotify head Daniel Ek, who himself sold a sizable number of shares over the summer, chalked up the development to his business’s “new phase” and said the company “needs a CFO with a different mix of experiences.”
As mentioned, however, Ek and more recently Vogel aren’t the only Spotify higher-ups who’ve opted to exchange at least a portion of their stock holdings for handsome profits.
(As a pertinent aside regarding the transactions’ timing – and the possibility of other imminent sales – Spotify’s “Insider Trading Policy” prohibits employees “from buying or selling Spotify’s securities during the quarterly ‘blackout periods,’ which begin on the fifteenth day of the last month of each fiscal quarter and end upon the open of the market of the first trading day after the public release of the quarter’s earnings.”)
According to different regulatory filings obtained by Digital Music News, Spotify director Shishir Mehrotra, whose term is expected to expire at the business’s 2023 annual meeting, sold 2,675 SPOT shares for $468,125 on November 9th.
Then, on December 4th – or Monday, when shares surged with the layoff announcement – the Coda co-founder and CEO sold 2,675 more shares, this time for a cool $521,625, the filing shows.
Lastly, Spotify general counsel Eve Konstan, whose name is signed Eve Mothner on the stock-sale notice, scored an almost $1.15 million windfall by parting with 5,785 shares in a transaction dated the fifth, a different filing indicates.