Gannett on Tuesday announced the appointment of a new chief marketing and strategy officer who is a veteran of tech companies Spotify and Freshly.

Mayur Gupta, 42, has relinquished his duties as a board member of Gannett to join the media company in the new executive position. He had been appointed to the board of New Media Investment Group on Oct. 1, 2019, before it officially acquired Gannett in November 2019 and assumed the company’s name.

The company described his hiring as part of its pivot toward “a subscription-led business model.” Gannett, which owns USA TODAY and more than 260 local news operations, now has nearly 1 million paid online subscriptions, which the company has cited as a significant milestone in its digital transformation effort.

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Gupta’s appointment comes as Gannett is navigating the financial tumult of the COVID-19 pandemic along with the news industry’s loss of print revenue as advertisers migrate online.

“If there was ever a time that the world needed trusted local community news, it is now,” Gupta said in an interview with USA TODAY. “That is very relevant for me to create something – to create solutions at the intersection of technology and content that serves local communities.”

Gupta most recently served as chief marketing officer at meal-delivery service Freshly and as global vice president for growth and marketing at music-streaming service Spotify, where he led efforts to boost the digital subscription base.

“His experience building subscription models and helping to create vision and strategy align closely with our goals and path for Gannett,” Gannett CEO and Chairman Michael Reed said in a statement. “In addition, given his board service he has intimate knowledge of the Company following our recent acquisition.”

Gupta said it’s too early to identify specific strategies but added the company needs to continue to embrace risk-taking. He praised the company’s investments in new avenues like gaming and e-learning and also hailed investments in “local, authentic and trusted journalism.”

As a member of the Gannett board’s Transformation Committee, Gupta said he spent significant time with the company’s executives, learning the ropes and understanding the company’s challenges and opportunities.

“We have to center our focus on our core products and understand what customer needs are,” he said.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.

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