The search for a new CEO for Pandora concluded this week. Six months after the company's CEO, Joe Kennedy, resigned in March amidst strong Q4 numbers, Pandora announced its new chief executive today in a press release.
Brian McAndrews, a man who has worked with Madrona Venture Group, aQuantive and Microsoft, has been brought in to fill Kennedy's shoes and lead the company for the foreseeable future. Pandora wrote that it was looking for someone who could focus on the advertising side of the company and push it forward as fast as possible. Tim Westergreen, Pandora's founder and chief strategy officer, commented on the search.
We had very specific criteria for our new CEO, and we were very strategic about finding the right person - Brian is that person. No one better understands the intersection of technology and advertising, which he clearly demonstrated during aQuantive's meteoric rise. He has a recognized ability to set strategy, lead large teams and drive growth and innovation at great scale. He is also a natural cultural fit with Pandora. This is a great development for our company.
We also have a little more background on McAndrews. In 1999, he took over Avenue A and turned it into aQuantive, which at the time was the world's quickest expanding digital marketing firm. In 2007, that company was then bought by Microsoft for $6 billion. McAndrews continued to work with the software giant until 2009, when he left his Advertiser & Publisher Solutions position to become a capital partner in start-up focused tech company, Madrona. His accolades have led him to be named Advertising Age's first Digital Executive of the Year and was once included in AdWeek's 30 most influential marketing and advertising executives.
McAndrews concluded the press announcement with excitement on his new role.
It is a great privilege to be asked to lead Pandora at this important moment in the company's history. By capturing the enthusiasm of more than 72 million monthly listeners, the management team, led by Joe and Tim, has made Pandora the clear internet radio leader and created a product that consumers love. I look forward to joining this great team to build on Pandora's success for years to come.
Despite the obvious disagreement people outside of Pandora would have on the company being the clear leader in Internet radio, I think McAndrews stepping in as CEO of Pandora matches the new focus of the brand perfectly. Pandora has been pushing marketing and advertising hard as of late, and with someone with a background like his, I can only see good things come out of it, at least in the long-term. Pandora is still losing customers to other services, and with iTunes Radio now becoming a full-fledged product, Pandora will need to innovate and implement some stop gaps in the near future in order to prevent a sharp customer drop in subscriptions.