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Spotify Loses Two Top Execs: Deezer Nabs Riad Hawa, Early Hire Jonathan Forster Also Exits

(Hypebot) – Deezer has hired away Spotify exec Riad Hawa to expand its music hardware partnerships. Sales VP Jonathan Forster, one of Spotify's first dozen staffers and a close associate of CEO Daniel EK, is also exiting.
Spotify executive Riad Hawa has been hired by rival Deezer to as its VP of global hardware partnerships. Hardware compatibility and preferred deals with manufacturers from Sonos to Samsung are key to extending the reach of any music service.

Hawa held a similar hardware role at Spotify, which he joined in 2012, after stints at Acer and Sony. The hiring comes just two weeks after Access Industries, which also owns Warner Music Group, took full control Deezer.

“I am over the moon to be joining Deezer at a time when the music streaming market is ripe for change,” said Hawa. “This could come in the form of new innovation, building strategic partnerships with like-minded brands or investment in creative marketing strategies – the opportunities are endless.”

Early Staffer Jonathan Forster Says Goodbye

Jonathan Forster, Spotify VP Sales EMEA is also exiting, according to multiple sources. Forster was one of Spotify's first dozen hires almost 10 years ago. Hos plans are unclear, but he has invested in several startups in the recent past.

Why Now?

Combined, these two exits do not signal a rush for the door at Spotify. But they are unusual, both for a pre-IPO company like Spotify to change leadership and for two senior hires to exit prior to the likely payout a public offering would net them.