Pandora's founder Tim Westergren is taking over the reins at the streaming service, the company announced today. Westergren replaces former CEO Brian McAndrews effective immediately, as the company installs a new management structure. Chief strategy officer Sara Clemens will take over as COO, and CFO Mike Herring has added president to his role at the company.
"I am incredibly excited about the future of Pandora," Westergren said in a statement. "We're on the cusp of realizing an extraordinary vision: fundamentally changing the way listeners discover and enjoy music, and the way artists build and sustain their careers."
"I am incredibly excited about the future of Pandora."
Westergren, who founded the company in 1999 and served as CEO from 2002 to 2004, takes over at a crucial time for the streaming service. After acquiring Rdio last year and announcing plans to build an on-demand streaming service to go along with its popular internet radio offering, the company began to explore the possibility of a sale, as first reported by The New York Times and confirmed by The Verge.
Pandora's future as a major player in streaming largely hinges on whether it can build an on-demand service that can compete with the likes of Spotify and Apple Music. With 81.1 million listeners, Pandora has the built-in target audience, but converting those listeners from free radio users into paid on-demand consumers is far from easy. And with tough competition from entrenched incumbents and from upcoming services from SoundCloud and others, carving out a spot at the table is much harder than it would've been three years ago.