Pandora Founder Tim Westergren Returning as CEO; Brian McAndrews to Exit

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7:18 AM PDT 3/28/2016 by Gil Kaufman, Billboard

The company has reportedly been exploring a potential sale.

Pandora co-founder Tim Westergren has been named CEO of the pioneering music site amid an executive shake-up at the top of the Oakland, Calif.-based Internet radio service. With the announcement, former CEO Brian McAndrews will be leaving the company, which has reportedly been exploring a potential sale.

“I am incredibly excited about the future of Pandora. We’re on the cusp of realizing an extraordinary vision: fundamentally changing the way listeners discover and enjoy music, and the way artists build and sustain their careers,” Westergren said in a statement announcing his new title. “We are pursuing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a massive, vibrant music marketplace. We have the audience, the technology infrastructure, the monetization engine and most importantly the right team with the passion and commitment to do it. I’m 100 percent committed to Pandora’s growth strategy, as is our executive team and Board.”

Among the other changes announced Monday are the elevation of Mike Herring to president and chief financial officer, with a focus on “monetization of Pandora’s core business-covering revenue, music licensing, finance, legal and information technology.” Sara Clemens will now serve as chief operating officer, overseeing “growing and scaling the business and operating new ventures,” with responsibilities that include working with “music makers, Ticketfly, international, human resources and corporate development.”

Chris Phillips will act as chief product officer, taking charge of product, engineering and marketing. “His team will develop, deliver and drive adoption of products that connect fans and artist in new ways, including on-demand, and help advertisers reach their audiences,” the company said.

CNBC noted that shares of Pandora stock were down 7 percent in early trading following the news.

McAndrews, who had served as the company’s CEO since 2013, said Pandora was in good hands with one of its architects at the top. “I am honored to have been the CEO of Pandora for the past two and a half years, and I am proud of what I and our team of talented and highly passionate colleagues have achieved during this time,” he said in the statement.

“We have put in place a robust strategy to make Pandora the go-to source for fans and artists and position the company for long-term success in a highly dynamic space. With the team and strategy in place and execution underway, I am passing the baton on to Tim. I wish the company all the best as it continues on its next phase of growth.” A Pandora spokesperson told Billboard that no further information was available on Westergren’s plans at press time.

Pandora’s chairman of the board, Jim Feuille, said the transition will help to maximize the company’s potential in the marketplace.

“Tim is the ideal CEO for Pandora as we embark on our next phase of growth,” he said. “As the original founder, Tim carries the vision for how Pandora can transform the music industry and he is uniquely able to connect with listeners, music makers and employees.”

Independent musician and record producer Westergren served as Pandora’s chief creative officer and treasurer from February 2000 to May 2002, as CEO and president from May 2002 to July 2004, and as chief strategy officer from July 2004 to February 2014.

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