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AOL exec jumps ship to Spotify, report says

Jared Grusd, AOL senior vice president and strategy chief, is moving on to the music service in an unspecified role, according to a new report.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

AOL has lost one of the top executives to music-streaming service Spotify, All Things Digital is reporting today.

According to All Things Digital, Jared Grusd, AOL's senior vice president for business development and chief of strategy, has left the company to pursue an unspecified role at Spotify. Although All Things Digital wasn't able to nail down what position he'll take on, its sources say that it's a "high-level position in New York."

After making a name for itself in Europe, Spotify made its U.S. debut in July.

As Grusd reportedly pursues a new endeavor, he might just be leaving at the right time. AOL has been trying desperately to stabilize its business as it continues to face pressure in the online advertising space from Google, Facebook, and Yahoo. In an attempt to bolster its business, the company has gone on an acquisition spree over the last couple years, acquiring social-media blog TechCrunch and the Huffington Post.

Even with all that, AOL is still struggling to stay ahead. During its last-reported quarter ended June 30, the company posted a net loss of nearly $12 million on $542 million in revenue. On an annual basis, AOL lost $782.5 million last year on $2.4 billion in revenue. That performance was down significantly from the $3.2 billion in revenue and $249 million profit it generated in 2009.

Although its acquisitions seemingly haven't worked for AOL, the company is now eying another move: acquiring Yahoo. Reuters reported earlier this month that AOL CEO Tim Armstrong has been meeting with investors to discuss the possibility of acquiring Yahoo. It's not alone. Investment firms, including Silver Lake Partners and Providence Equity Partners, are reportedly interested in acquiring Yahoo. Microsoft and Google are also reportedly placing bids.

Spotify did not immediately respond to CNET's request for confirmation of the All Things Digital report.