Pandora CEO Tim Westergren Departs

Marcus Newton
June 28, 2017

In its announcement Pandora did not say whether Westergren would continue to have a role in the company. He will be replaced by Jason Hirschhorn, the CEO of "digital content curation" company ReDEF Group, who has previously been an executive at Myspace and Sling and served as MTV's Chief Digital Officer. At the same time, Pandora announced it would unload Ticketfly - the ticketing startup it paid $335.3 million in stock and cash for in 2015 - to Eventbrite for $200 million. The company spent most of 2016 and 2017 as the subject of reports that it was shopping itself around, and some large Pandora institutional investors actively called on Pandora to explore a sale.

Online radio service Pandora needs a new DJ.

Meanwhile, music listeners have begun gravitating to the on-demand subscription services of Spotify, Apple and others, which offer ad-free access. The company, which went public in 2011, amassed almost 80 million listeners each month, and built a substantial online advertising business, topping $1 billion previous year. During his brief return as CEO, Westergren negotiated the direct licensing deals necessary to launch Pandora's on-demand streaming tier, though it has continued to struggle with profitability.

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Westergren was one of three co-founders of the Oakland-based company, which started in 1999 after Westergren spent almost 20 years working as a record producer and composer. The statement released by Pandora Radio have no explanations as to why it suddenly shuttered its Australian and New Zealand operations. One of those three new members will become Pandora's new chairman, likely Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei.

A new CEO will enable Pandora to focus on the advertising that makes the service unique compared with competitors like Apple or Spotify, said John Tinker, an analyst at Gabelli & Co in Rye, New York.

Shares of Pandora Media Inc., which are already down 35 percent since the beginning of the year, slipped about 1 percent to $8.38 in midday trading.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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