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RYOT Co-Founder Bryn Mooser Out at Oath (EXCLUSIVE)

Oath’s immersive entertainment studio RYOT has seen some executive changes last month: The company has parted with co-founder and CEO Bryn Mooser, Variety has learned.

A Verizon Media Group / Oath spokesperson confirmed Mooser’s departure in a statement to Variety: “Bryn Mooser will be moving on from Oath to pursue new opportunities. As one of the founders of RYOT, he built this emerging brand to be an Emmy nominated powerhouse of creative storytelling. We thank him for all that he has contributed to the company.”

Zeda Stone, who has been leading the recently-announced RYOT Innovation Studio facility, has been elevated to lead all of RYOT going forward. Hayley Pappas continues to oversee the group’s RYOT Films efforts as part of RYOT.

The Departure of Mooser is a significant change for RYOT; Mooser co-founded the company some 6 years ago as a social impact startup, and has since produced VR videos about the earthquake in Nepal, slums in Haiti and more. The company was acquired by the Huffington Post in 2016, and became part of Oath through Verizon’s acquisition of AOL.

With the new ownership structure, RYOT’s role also underwent some changes. The unit started to produce branded content for Oath, and partnered with Vice to produce a series of documentaries — a deal that came together largely because of Verizon’s existing commitments to Vice that had to be realigned because of the demise of Go90.

Bryn’s departure came as a surprise to much of RYOT’s staff, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. There have not been any other layoffs in connection with this change, but the move has shaken staffers, with some wondering about the future of the unit.

However, the recent opening of the RYOT Innovation Studio seems to signal that Verizon is committed to the future of Ryot. The studio, which Stone was set to lead together with Mooser, is located on Verizon’s Playa Vista, Calif. Campus, and is meant to work closely with the telco’s 5G Lab.

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