Internet radio service Pandora, facing intense competition from Apple, Spotify and other rivals in digital music, this morning announced the departure of its CEO Brian McAndrews, the longtime technology executive with deep roots in the Seattle region.
Tim Westergren, the Pandora founder who led the original development of the company’s groundbreaking Music Genome Project, has been appointed CEO of the company.
Pandora issued this statement from McAndrews: “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. 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.”
McAndrews was best known as the CEO of aQuantive, the early leader in digital advertising that was acquired by Microsoft for $6.3 billion in 2007. After leaving the Redmond company in 2009, he joined Madrona Venture Group as an investing partner.
GeekWire has contacted McAndrews this morning to find out about his plans. Upon joining Oakland, Calif.-based Pandora in 2013, he relocated to the Bay Area but said at the time that he planned to keep his house in the Seattle region, as well.
McAndrews had also been Pandora’s president and chairman. As part of a new management structure, the company named its finance chief Mike Herring its new president, and said board member Jim Feuille will be chairman of the board. Pandora said the changes are design to “accelerate the company’s growth strategy.”
“Pandora today is in a strong position to maximize our full potential and expand the music marketplace,” said said Feuille in a statement. “Tim is the ideal CEO for Pandora as we embark on our next phase of growth. 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.”
Listener statistics show Pandora’s growth hitting a plateau in recent quarters. The publicly traded company reported 81.1 million active listeners at the end of 2015, down from 81.5 million active listeners a year earlier. However, that was still up significantly from its reported 59.2 million active users in the third quarter of 2013, when McAndrews took the top job at the company.
Pandora’s shares are down more than 8 percent in early trading this morning, after the announcement of the CEO change.