Pandora, After Shakeup, Picks New C.E.O.


The changes come at a pivotal moment for Pandora, which for years dominated the internet radio market but has seen its growth stalled — and its stock price lagging — as listeners move to Spotify, Apple Music and elsewhere. In a recent financial report, Pandora said it had 76 million active users, down from a peak of 81 million.

To turn the company around, Mr. Westergren introduced a $10-a-month subscription plan this year to compete with Spotify and Apple. But its introduction was costly and many analysts wondered whether Pandora had waited too long.

In June, Mr. Westergren and other top executives left as Pandora accepted a $480 million investment from SiriusXM, giving that company a 19 percent stake. SiriusXM is controlled by Liberty Media.

The chairman of Pandora’s board is now Roger Faxon, the former chief executive of EMI. In another sign of managerial musical chairs, Tony Vinciquerra, who was on Pandora’s board until June, now has Mr. Lynton’s old job as chairman and chief executive at Sony Pictures.

Mr. Lynch will be Pandora’s fourth chief executive in just over four years. Mr. Westergren took over in early 2016 from Brian P. McAndrews, who in September 2013 was named the successor to Joseph J. Kennedy.

The changes at Pandora came after another prominent shakeup in digital music. Last week SoundCloud replaced its chief executive as part of a $170 million investment that slashed the company’s valuation but saved it from collapse.

Mr. Lynch will take over as Pandora’s chief executive on Sept. 18, the company announced.

Pandora was also careful to establish its new leader’s musical bona fides as a replacement for Mr. Westergren, who frequently spoke about his travails as a member of an indie band.

Mr. Lynch, a company spokeswoman noted in a bullet-pointed list of his attributes, plays lead guitar in a band called the Merger, which is playing at the Jazz Aspen Snowmass festival over Labor Day weekend.

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