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Personalized online radio service Pandora made it official Tuesday, confirming that Tim Westergren has decided to step down as CEO and from his seat on the board of directors.
The company said that president Mike Herring and chief marketing officer Nick Bartle are also leaving the company.
Pandora said it would begin a search for a new CEO immediately. CFO Naveen Chopra was named interim CEO.
The executive shake-up comes after a recent deal in which satellite radio giant SiriusXM Radio agreed to buy a $480 million stake in Pandora.
“On behalf of the entire board, I would like to thank Tim for his vision and his many years of leadership that have created one of the most recognized brands in streaming music today,” Pandora board member Tim Leiweke said in a statement.
Added Pandora board member Roger Faxon: “Over the past several weeks, the board has taken a number of steps to refocus and reinforce Pandora. As listeners continue to move from traditional terrestrial radio to more dynamic and flexible offerings, it is the board’s belief that this transition continues to present a massive opportunity, and that Pandora is in an ideal position to capture an increasing share of this audience.”
He continued: “With ‘digital radio’ at the core of our business, and both ‘Plus’ and ‘Premium’ as new, integral parts of our arsenal, Pandora now has all of the tools necessary to capitalize on this opportunity. With our comprehensive suite of offerings and a refortified balance sheet, we will be able to more effectively recruit listeners, and we will be able to provide them with more of the content they want and the services they desire in order to better retain them.”
Pandora also said Jason Hirschhorn, CEO of digital content curation company ReDef Group, former chief product officer and co-president of Myspace and former chief digital officer at MTV Networks, has been added to its board.
“We are also thrilled to welcome Jason Hirschhorn to the board,” said Leiweke. “Jason is a uniquely talented individual who brings highly relevant consumer media experience to our board and will lend valuable counsel as we focus on driving long-term value for our shareholders. With this new addition to the board, as well as our recently announced partnership with SiriusXM and our sale of Ticketfly, we have added significant intellectual and capital resources to Pandora, and we are confident that the company is in a better position than ever to capture an increasing share of the music listening audience.”
Said Westergren: “I am incredibly proud of the company we have built. We invented a whole new way of enjoying and discovering music and in doing so, forever changed the listening experience for millions. I came back to the CEO role last year to drive transformation across the business. We accomplished far more than we anticipated. We rebuilt Pandora’s relationships with the music industry; launched a fantastic Premium on-demand service, and brought a host of tech innovations to our advertising business. With these in place, plus a strengthened balance sheet, I believe Pandora is perfectly poised for its next chapter.”
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