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Music streaming service boss departs

Pandora founder Tim Westergren

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Pandora co-founder Tim Westergren has returned as chief executive

Shares in Pandora have fallen more than 10% after the US music streaming service said chief executive Brian McAndrews had left the company.

He has been replaced by co-founder Tim Westergren, who led the business from 2002 to 2004.

The online radio service has been struggling amid growing competition from Spotify and Apple Music.

It reported disappointing fourth quarter profits even though the number of active users fell by less than 1%.

The management changes would “accelerate the company’s growth strategy”, Pandora said.

It did not say why Mr McAndrews had left. However, the company’s shares had fallen by a third in the past 12 months before Monday’s slide.

Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said: “I’m sure the stock performance was a factor in McAndrews’ departure.”

In a statement, Mr McAndrews said he had been honoured to lead Pandora for the past two and a half years. “I wish the company all the best as it continues on its next phase of growth.”

Pandora also said that chief strategy officer, Sara Clemens, would become chief operating officer to help expand the businesses and develop new ventures.

Pandora’s service allows users to listen to music for free with commercial interruptions, like Spotify’s free tier. It has been working to boosts its subscription memberships, which allows users to choose what songs to play without ads.

Pandora reported 81.1 million users in its fourth quarter who listened to an average of three hours of music.

Its main competitor, Spotify, had 28m paying subscribers by the end of 2015.

Mr McAndrews dismissed a report last month that claimed Pandora could be a takeover target for Spotify. “We are focused on working as an independent company and driving our business,” he told analysts.

Apple Music, which launched last year, has about 11 million paying subscribers. The service has no free tier and some artists are choosing to make their releases available on Apple’s platform ahead of Spotify.

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