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Pandora Appoints Former Microsoft Exec Brian McAndrews CEO, President and Chairman

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In many respects Pandora has had a great year yet near-term challenges, such as Apple's impending launch of iTunes Radio, and long-term challenges, such as making money, represent major difficulties ahead. Back in March then CEO Joe Kennedy announced his resignation. Yesterday Pandora announced Brian McAndrews new CEO, President and Chairman to lead them forward.

Brian McAndrews brings a great deal of marketing-related experience to the position. McAndrews is the former President and CEO of aQuantive which was acquired by Microsoft for $6 billion in 2007. He then became SVP, Advertiser and Publisher Solutions, for Microsoft and a Venture Partner at Madrona Venture Group.

McAndrews serves as a board member for The New York Times Company, AppNexus and Grubhub Seamless. He is also the first to be named AdAge's “Digital Executive of the Year" and was noted by Adweek as one of the 30 most influential executives in the advertising, marketing and media world.

In the official announcement Pandora's founder and chief strategy officer Tim Westergren stated:

“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."

Though Pandora does face many challenges with which Brian McAndrews must now contend, he also works from a position of strength. In a NY Times piece on iTunes Radio prior to the announcement, Ben Sisario wrote:

“The service is a threat to Pandora Media, which dominates Internet radio. But music and advertising executives say that the magnitude of that threat is unclear, given Apple's relatively late entry into streaming music and Pandora's strong market position"

As eMarketer's Clark Fredricksen maintains:

“At this point Pandora is one of the leading recipients of mobile advertising revenue, and is one of the most popular apps, period, across devices...It's tough to see it getting killed."


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