Pandora CEO Tim Westergren is stepping down from the role, according to sources who have spoken to Recode. Meanwhile, AdNews has reported that the streaming service’s operations in Australia and New Zealand are closing down, meaning it will become a US-only business once again.
A co-founder of the streaming business, Westergren was also CEO at Pandora in the early days of the company. He returned to the position last year, to the displeasure of some investors. Major shareholder Corvex Management felt that his return indicated that Pandora was not working towards selling itself off, which Corvex had been pushing for.
More recently, Pandora instigated a strategic review of its business, during which a sale was indeed considered. Then earlier this month a sizeable stake in the company was sold to SiriusXM, which had long been mooted as a potential new owner. At the same time Pandora also sold off its ticketing business, Ticketfly.
Although Westergren is expected to stay on at Pandora in another role, his departure as CEO may be a move to appease shareholders still concerned about the lack of profit at the streaming service. If Recode’s sources are correct, it seems that there is no one in line to replace him as yet, making his departure as sudden as his return last year.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that Pandora will cease to be available in Australia and New Zealand. Originally US-only, where it benefited from a specific compulsory licence under American copyright law giving it access to recordings at rates set by the Copyright Royalty Board, the personalised radio service launched down under in 2012. However, the majority of its 81 million active users remain US-based, with 1.2 million actively using the service in Australia and New Zealand.
Jane Huxley, who launched Pandora in Australia and New Zealand and had been its Managing Director since, stepped down from the company in March. At the time, Westergren praised her for having “firmly established our brand in the ANZ market”. Head Of Revenue Operations in the Australian office Taly Yaniv has been acting as interim MD since then, but no permanent replacement has been announced.
Pandora has had global ambitions at various points in its history, and the move into the Australian market was seen as a first step in that plan. More recently the service was talking about a launch into Europe, though that was before the aforementioned strategic review.
While Pandora is currently still available in Australia and New Zealand, if it does indeed leave the market, that will be yet another reduction in the range of streaming services available in the country following the collapse of home grown Guvera. Deezer also closed its local office in Sydney in 2014, but continues to operate in the country.[from http://ift.tt/2lvivLP]