Spotify’s Daniel Ek expands his foundation, adds new CEO

Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek plans to broaden the attain of his Sensible Minds Basis, even because the nonprofit’s signature annual occasion—a two-day summit in Stockholm that has attracted attendees similar to President Barack Obama, Pharrell Williams, Naomi Campbell, and Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon—is on a two-year hiatus because of the pandemic.

The inspiration has employed a new CEO, Annastasia Seebohm, who beforehand served as CEO of world membership group Quintessentially Group, and Ek quietly has recruited members of a few of Sweden’s most outstanding households to serve on the Sensible Minds board of administrators. Spotify, a music and media streaming service, is headquartered in Stockholm.

“We began Sensible Minds as a result of we thought that Sweden and its values of egalitarianism, sustainability, inclusivity, and creativity may play a task find options to probably the most vital problems with our time,” Ek says.


Seebohm says the in-person summit, last held in the summertime of 2019, will return in June 2022. Within the meantime, she says, she is working to broaden the Sensible Minds group—she’s particularly eager to contain teachers—and to search out methods to deliver smaller teams collectively, just about and in particular person, all year long.

Ek and music government Arash Pournouri cofounded Sensible Minds in 2015 as an occasion to highlight the Swedish expertise ecosystem. Through the years it advanced into an invitation-only world gathering of leaders within the arts, enterprise, and politics, occupying among the similar “thought management” area because the World Financial Discussion board’s annual assembly in Davos or TED—however with music-inflected twists. Friends at previous occasions had been handled to morning yoga class with singer-songwriter Usher. Goldman Sachs CEO Solomon was the DJ on a ship experience.

Ek fashioned the Sensible Minds Basis in 2018 with a mission of supporting European founders. A Spotify spokeswoman says Ek helps quite a lot of nonprofit endeavors however characterizes Sensible Minds as his main philanthropic effort.

Board member Johan Andersson, CEO of Swedish holding firm Mellby Gård, says the inspiration board goals to assist Ek and Seebohm entice newcomers to the Sensible Minds platform. “Let me be clear, I don’t assume we may add completely something in the case of music and tradition,” he says. “However I believe we will deliver our worldwide community and experience.”

He notes that he and the opposite board members, together with Peter Wallenberg Jr. of the Wallenberg Foundations and Caroline Berg, a fifth-generation chief of conglomerate Axel Johnson, will assist guarantee Sensible Minds’s longevity. “If there’s one factor we’re good at as household companies [it’s creating] governance rules and financing to make organizations final for a very long time,” he says.

For Seebohm, the transfer to Sensible Minds is a deeply private one. Earlier than accepting the function as CEO—she formally begins subsequent month—she had made {many professional} connections at Sensible Minds occasions. “Once I was speaking to Daniel about Sensible Minds he stated he needed to spark connections that had been inflections factors in folks’s lives,” she says. “And that’s precisely what Sensible Minds was for me. It sparked connections that led to this chance.” She replaces Natalia Brzezinski, who resigned final 12 months and now serves as head of technique at Klarna U.S., a division of the Swedish fintech firm.

Whilst the inspiration expands its group and remit, Seebohm and Ek say the mission will keep rooted in Swedish values, which they describe as openness, transparency, equality, and belief. And the occasions will stay as eclectic as ever. “Getting folks to assume creatively is an enormous a part of Sensible Minds,” Seebohm says. “We sit on the intersection of creativity, tech, music, enterprise, politics, and impression.”