Pandora to wind down in Australia, NZ as CEO steps down - Mobile World Live

Pandora to wind down in Australia, NZ as CEO steps down

29 JUN 2017

Music app maker Pandora announced Tim Westergren will step down as CEO and from the board of directors, as news surfaced that the firm is winding down its presence in Australia and New Zealand to focus on the US.

The news comes just weeks after Pandora received an investment of $480 million from satellite radio company SiriusXM and sold its Ticketfly business to Eventbrite for $200 million.

CFO Naveen Chopra will serve as interim CEO while Jason Hirschhorn, CEO of a digital content curation company called ReDEF Group that he founded in 2013, will take his place. Chief marketing officer Nick Bartle and president Mike Herring also left the firm.

Board member Tim Leiweke thanked Westergren for creating “one of the most recognised brands in streaming music today”.

“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,” he added.

Meanwhile Roger Faxon, another board member, said that over the past few weeks the board took a number of steps “to refocus and reinforce Pandora”.

“With our comprehensive suite of offerings and a refortified balance sheet, we will be able to more effectively recruit listeners,” he said.

Australia and New Zealand
Australia and New Zealand are the only regions outside the US where Pandora operates.

A spokesperson told Billboard that “while our experience in these markets reinforces the broader global opportunity long-term, in the short-term we must remain laser-focused on the expansion of our core business in the United States”.

Jane Huxley, who launched the service in Australia and New Zealand, left in March after five years. At the time, Pandora said its listener base in the region had grown to over 5 million.

Competition
Pandora faces stiff competition from services including Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music Unlimited.

Indeed, while Pandora revealed its total paying subscribers hit 4.7 million in Q1 2017, up from 3.9 million in the same quarter of 2016, the number of active listeners fell from 79.4 million to 76.7 million.

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Saleha Riaz

Saleha joined Mobile World Live in October 2014 as a reporter and works across all e-newsletters - creating content, writing blogs and reports as well as conducting feature interviews...More

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