Published: Wed, June 28, 2017
Money | By Charlene Sutton

Pandora CEO Tim Westergren departs

Pandora CEO Tim Westergren departs

Prior to taking over from former CEO Brian McAndrews previous year, Westergren had been Pandora's chief strategy officer, and is considered to be the philosophical leader of the company as he helped create the Music Genome Project, an algorithm that Pandora used as the basis for its music-streaming service.

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The tech news site Recode reported late Sunday that Westergren will step down as chief executive of the online radio company. Westergren will also step down from the company's board of directors, and letting go of any and all official positions within the company that he started 17 years ago. It named Jason Hirschhorn, a former co-president of Myspace Inc and former chief digital officer at MTV Networks, to its board to fill a recently vacated seat. In a separate transaction to improve its cash balance, Pandora also said it sold the concert-ticketing business Ticketfly for US$200 million. Some analysts were encouraged by the renewed core focus and profitability of this deal, even if they dislike convertible stock financing, while others were largely negative.

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Westergren took over the CEO role last March, mostly to guide the company's launch of its on-demand competitor to Spotify and Apple Music, which completed its rollout in April. A week before that low, the music streaming service said it secured a $480 million investment from Sirius HX Holdings Inc., which suggested a buyout was less likely. The company, which went public in 2011, amassed almost 80 million listeners each month, and built a substantial online advertising business, topping $1 billion past year. Interim CEO Naveen Chopram probably will struggle just as badly as Pandora's founder. The statement released by Pandora Radio have no explanations as to why it suddenly shuttered its Australian and New Zealand operations. "We support Tim's desire to identify a new C.E.O. for Pandora's next stage".

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Westergren has been running Pandora since 2016; prior to that the CEO slot had been occupied by a series of professional managers. The stock surged 21 per cent in the five trading sessions through Monday's close. Pandora makes most of its money from the free version, bringing in almost $1.1 billion in ad revenue previous year.

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