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Published: Tue, June 27, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

The music may be over for Pandora's CEO

The music may be over for Pandora's CEO

June 25 Music streaming service Pandora Media Inc's founder and chief executive, Tim Westergren, plans to step down, Recode reported citing people familiar with the company's plans.

Pandora hasn't selected a replacement for Westergren, sources say; he will likely stay on at the company he founded 17 years ago until a new CEO is in place. Since Westergren became CEO on March 28, 2016 through Friday, the stock had declined 11% while the S&P 500 has soared 20%. 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.

Earlier this month, Pandora attracted a $480 million investment from SiriusXM and sold its Ticketfly division to Eventbrite for $200 million, a $250 million loss. Pandora had no comment. Pandora is also staffed by many Westergren loyalists who share his artist-friendly ethos.

Despite decent sales growth, Pandora has continued to lose money and may need more cash.

He sees the incoming Sirius XM leadership as a plus for Pandora.

Swift famously pulled her catalog from Spotify in 2014 after the release of her "1989" album.

"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, in a recent report in which he laid out evidence suggesting Sirius, and its own parent company, Liberty Media, may look to replace Westergren as Pandora's CEO.

Pandora's value diminished as it struggled to keep up with streamed music competitors including Amazon, Apple, Google, and Spotify.

Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei, who is also chairman of Sirius XM, touted the opportunity to increase ad revenue, saying Liberty has "long recognized the strength of the Pandora brand and the opportunities in the ad-supported digital radio market".

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