Westergren Steps Down as Pandora’s CEO

Struggling music streaming and discovery company  Pandora said Tim Westergren has stepped down as CEO and from its board of directors, and company chief financial officer Naveen Chopra has stepped in as interim CEO.

Chopra, the former TiVo exec who led the company through its merger with Rovi, joined Pandora in February.

Pandora said its president, Mike Herring, and chief marketing officer, Nick Bartle, are also leaving the company.

The company also announced the appointment of Jason Hirschhorn to its board, filling a recently vacated seat. Hirschhorn is CEO of ReDEF Group, a digital content curation company he founded in 2013, and is also an exec late of Myspace Inc., Sling Media, and MTV Networks, where he was chief digital officer at MTV Networks.

Those moves are occurring as Pandora tries to shore up ad revenues for its free service and tries to draw in consumers for a new paid offering all while facing increased pressure from other paid and free alternatives such as Spotify and Apple Music.

Last month, Pandora agreed to sell Ticketfly, a ticketing platform focused on music promoters and venues, to Eventbrite. Liberty Media-owned SiriusXM has also stepped in to make a $480 million strategic cash investment in Pandora.

“Over the past several weeks, the board has taken a number of steps to refocus and reinforce Pandora,” Pandora board member Roger Faxon said in a statement. “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. 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.”

“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,” added Pandora board member Tim Leiweke. “Tim stepped in to be CEO at a critical time for the company and was quickly able to reset relations with the major labels, launch our on-demand service, reconstitute the management team and refortify our balance sheet by securing an investment from Sirius XM. We support Tim’s desire to identify a new CEO for Pandora’s next stage.”