Pandora Stock Rises As CEO Westergren Steps Down, Leaves Board

Asa Mathat for Vox Media

The shakeup comes at a tumultuous time for the company.

Now all three are gone.

The board will begin searching for candidates to fill the position, and CFO Naveen Chopra will serve as interim CEO.

Westergren says he's "incredibly proud " of the company and reclaimed the CEO title a year ago "to drive transformation across the business".

Pandora, which was introduced in 2005, became by far the most popular internet radio service, using a proprietary "music genome" technology that analyzed the musical characteristics of songs its users liked, and fed them more of them. "I believe Pandora is perfectly poised for its next chapter".

The moves Westergren made, while necessary, may have come too late. Pandora is a social music app for smartphones. Pandora's share price has dropped by more than a third since the beginning of the year. Were that burn rate to continue, the company risks depleting the $171 million in cash remaining in its coffers. Confirming the news, Westergren and Pandora Radio released a statement earlier today. Maffei may have eventually moved to force Westergren's resignation. Liberty Media owns a large stake in ticketing competition Live Nation and investors have urged Pandora to refocus its efforts on streaming.

The addition of Hirschhorn and Faxon to the board gives Pandora leaders who understand the music industry, but the company might need "hardcore strategists who can deal with the challenges of the market", according to Crupnick. Before that, Pandora was primarily focused on ad-supported streaming.

Pandora's board has spent the last few weeks trying to determine the company's future, and it appears that includes a new leadership direction.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that Pandora will cease to be available in Australia and New Zealand. The company probably is worth less than even 1 times sales - or less than $1.5 billion- due to the risk of dilution.

While Mr McAndrews was faulted by many employees for a lack of vision and leadership, the company's fortunes haven't improved much under Mr Westergren.

Analysts at Pacific Crest upgraded Pandora to "sector weight" from "underweight" Monday following the rumors.



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