Pandora founder quits as service departs Australia

The move seems to have blindsided the Australian business

Pandora has announced that founder Tim Westergren has decided to step down from his position as CEO and the board of directors will begin a search for a new CEO immediately. CFO Naveen Chopra was named interim CEO.

With these changes, Westergren will also no longer be a member of the Pandora board of directors.

The company is also believed to have pulled the pin on its Australia and New Zealand operations, the only countries it trades in outside the United States.

The move seems to have blindsided the Australian business who were reporting their latest successes just days ago – the launch of Carat Radio Powered by Pandora, its second in-agency radio station, plus The Sunset Sessions, which was to be the first in an ongoing series that Pandora will host this year in conjunction with Universal Music Australia.

Pandora lost its local CEO Jane Huxley earlier this year when it was claimed she was heading off to “pursue other opportunities”. After Huxley departed in March, Tim Westergren said: “We thank Jane for her dedicated service over the last five years. She has firmly established our brand in the ANZ market, built a world class team, and pioneered our first subsidiaries outside of the United States. We wish her well.”

Pandora has also announced it has appointed former Myspace and MTV Networks executive Jason Hirschhorn to its board, filling a recently vacated seat.

Pandora board member Tim Leiweke said, “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 recognised brands in streaming music today.”

Westergren said, “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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