Saturday, 16 October 2021

Daniel Ek, Spotify’s tenacious and taciturn CEO

In this file photo taken on May 20, 2015 Daniel Ek, CEO of Spotify, speaks to reporters at a news conference in New York. Spotify went public on April 3, 2018, as the world's largest streaming company lists on the New York Stock Exchange. (AFP/Don Emmert)

LONDON: Spotify’s billionaire CEO Daniel Ek, who revolutionized on demand music listening for millions of people, is a resilient entrepreneur from a Swedish working-class suburb whose no-nonsense attitude has drawn investors and staff alike.

A casual dresser with his habitual sneakers, T-shirt and blazer, the 35-year-old is known for being extremely tight-lipped about the financial deals of the world’s largest music streaming company, which he co-founded with Martin Lorentzon in 2006.

“He is shy, comes from a working-class background and was very interested in computers and music early on,” said Pelle Snickars, co-author of a forthcoming book, The Swedish Unicorn: the story about Spotify.

“He’s quite Swedish in terms of values: we don’t see him on magazine covers alongside celebrities, he’s not hierarchical and does not hesitate to showcase his collaborators,” Snickars told AFP.

Ek’s pragmatic approach has endeared him to investors, consumers and employees.

On Tuesday, Spotify, which has never made a profit, soared to a market capitalization of more than $26 billion in its long-awaited debut on the New York Stock Exchange.

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