October 27, 2011, 2:27 PM — Losing his chief of strategy probably wasn't part of CEO Tim Armstrong's turnaround strategy for AOL. But that's apparently what's happening.
According to All Things Digital's Kara Swisher, AOL chief strategist and senior vice president of business development Jared Grusd "is leaving the New York Internet giant to work at Spotify, according to sources close to the situation."
Of course, with its market cap down to $1.5 billion, AOL is more of a stumbling former giant these days. This likely explains Grusd's move over to Spotify, which is growing rapidly and has an estimated value (based on a recent round of financing) of about $1 billion. I mean, why ride the down elevator to the basement when you can step off and grab a ride to the penthouse (or at least an upper floor)?
Meanwhile, AOL will carry on without Grusd, losing money and talent while milking elderly dial-up subscribers, most of whom are paying for a service they don't even need.
And Armstrong will continue to:
1) Pretend that AOL's attempted turnaround is based on producing "quality content"
2) Lay off employees
3) Report ongoing losses of revenue, subscribers and traffic
4) Complain that AOL's stock is "severely undervalued"
5) Openly wish that AOL would be rescued by Yahoo (Yahoo!)
Hard to believe Grusd -- who reportedly will work at Spotify's New York office in an undetermined capacity -- wants to walk away from all of that. But we live in a crazy world.