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Google's New Business Head Joins Spotify Board, While Another Former Exec Becomes Special Adviser

Big guns from the search giant swoop in to help the popular online music service.

Omid Kordestani, who has just temporarily replaced Nikesh Arora as chief business officer of Google, is joining the board of Spotify, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

In addition, sources said, one of the search giant’s former execs, Shishir Mehrotra, will become a special adviser to CEO Daniel Ek and the company’s management.

The move is a fascinating one, especially since sources inside Google said that new YouTube head Susan Wojcicki has expressed interest in acquiring the popular online music service if it were for sale. It is not currently and there are no such discussions going on between the pair about such a transaction.

Thus, the new appointments appear unrelated. And, to be clear, Google’s top execs often join boards of companies, both with corporate ties to them and not.

In any case, Google is still planning on launching a long-delayed YouTube subscription music service this year that would compete with Spotify. If it actually does get going, it will be the second such offering from the company.

While a Google spokesperson declined to comment about Kordestani’s new board seat, she sent this statement Google has used before on the topic:

“We’re always working on new ways for people to enjoy YouTube content across all screens, and on giving our partners more opportunities to reach their fans and generate revenue. We’ll be adding subscription-based features for music on YouTube with this in mind, and look forward to sharing them with music fans.”

Kordestani has been a senior adviser to the office of the CEO and founders at Google for many years, but the former Netscape exec was a key exec at the creation of the company as its first sales head. In its announcement about Arora’s departure, Kordestani — who is quite possibly the most affable Googler in existence — was called “our business founder” by the company.

Mehrotra, who was until recently YouTube’s head of product, then took on an “advisory role” at Google with an unclear portfolio of duties. He tweeted that he left the company in early June. Mehrotra came to Google in 2008, after a long stint at Microsoft, to work on its then-nascent TV efforts.

In other words, two big guns for Spotify.

(Please see my disclosure about Google here.)

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