Tim Westergren, cofounder and CEO of the internet radio company Pandora, will soon be stepping down from his post.
Earlier this month, Pandora sold 19% of its shares to the satellite radio company Sirius XM for $480 million. A part of this deal was that Sirius can add 3 new members to Pandora’s board of directors, including the company’s next board chairman. This could have a huge impact upon the future direction of the company. Pandora also sold TicketFly for another $200 million. All of this means that Pandora is flush with cash and thus, needs to make informed decisions, since it hasn’t yet been profitable.
Although Westergren is extremely passionate about music and has a big role in the establishment of Pandora and its first licensing deals, the service has lost money in each of its last 9 quarters. The board of directors thinks the company really struggled to find profitability under Westergren’s management. The company also faces intensifying competition from rivals such as Spotify and Apple Music.
Additionally, some of the directors view Westergren as the spirit of Pandora, and hope that he remains associated with the company. Westergren will reportedly remain associated with the company in some key capacity that is not yet known. Before taking over from former CEO Brian McAndrews last year, Westergren was Pandora’s chief strategy officer. The board now wants a more experienced manager to run the company and move Westergren to the position of evangelist or brand ambassador.
“Pandora’s mistakes are simply too large to ignore, and ultimately the mistakes point to one person, founder and current CEO, Tim Westergren,” said BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield.
Speculations suggest that Naveen Chopra, who joined Pandora’s team as chief financial officer earlier this year, might be handling the affairs of the company as its interim CEO until someone else is appointed.
Megha Shah for TechFunnel.com