Who is in line to replace Tim Westergren at Pandora?

Last week news broke that Tim Westergren is stepping down as CEO of Pandora after SiriusXM invested $480m into the troubled streaming platform.

Westergren, Pandora’s co-founder, succeeded Brian McAndrews as the firm’s CEO in March last year.

Since then, he has spearheaded the launch of Pandora’s interactive streaming efforts, including its $9.99-a-month on-demand service Pandora Premium.

However, user numbers aren’t going in the right direction: Pandora’s total active user count in the 30 days to end of March this year stood at 76.7m. Compared to the prior year, that figure has shrunk by 2.7m people.

Not to mention the fact that Pandora posted a net loss of $343m in 2016, on annual revenues of $1.39bn.

In short, Westergren’s replacement has their work cut out for them. 

With Westergren and two other top execs (President Mike Herring; CMO Nick Bartle) gone, it’s all change at the company.

For one thing, SiriusXM will soon chose its own representative to become the Chairman of Pandora’s board.

Also, Jason Hirschhorn, who is the Chief Executive Officer of digital content curation company ReDEF Group, has just filled another vacant Board seat.

Alongside interim CEO and current CFO Naveen Chopra, Hirschhorn is said to be in the running for the CEO job, according to this New York Post article – which also points towards former COO of Twitter, Adam Bain, and former acting CEO of Yahoo, Ross Levinsohn.

So what do we know about these four contenders?

Adam Bain is said to be the front-runner for Westergren’s job.

Bain left Twitter last year, where he was responsible for building the social media website’s multi-billion dollar advertising-based revenue business.

After spending six years there, he stepped down to “change gears and do something new outside the company.”

Prior to Twitter, Bain was President of Fox Interactive Media’s monetisation unit, Audience Network.

Previous roles at Fox included EVP, Product & Technology and VP, Production and Development at Fox Sports—a title he joined the firm with in 1999.

Bain was also previously a Producer at the Los Angeles Times and local news website Cleveland.com.

Jason Hirschhorn started his career as a high school club promoter, before selling his first startup, website design firm Mischief New Media, to Viacom for tens of millions of dollars.

As part of the deal, he joined MTV Networks as Chief Digital Officer where he spent over six years being responsible for digital media business and interactive strategy as one of the firm’s youngest senior executives.

After leaving MTV in 2006, he joined Sling Media for over two years as President to look after the newly-created Sling Media Entertainment Group and expand on its TV streaming media device.

In 2009, Hirschhorn was tapped as President and Chief Product Officer of Myspace, before leaving a year later to return to New York where he sat on the board of directors for social networking website for TV fans, GetGlue (which is now defunct), and MGM Studios.

REDEF Group was launched in 2013 to provide curated newsletters covering media, fashion, sports, music and tech.

Naveen Chopra was appointed Pandora CFO in February to replace Mike Herring.

He joined after spending 13 years at digital video recorder firm TiVo, where he was interim CEO and CFO.

Prior to that, Chopra spent time in product marketing and business development at home entertainment company Moxi and software, services and appliance company Ispiri.

A short stint as Director of Business Development at digital photography website Ofoto, which was acquired by Kodak, followed.

Chopra also sits on the board of directors for internet telco Vonage.

Technology and media executive Ross Levinsohn was Interim CEO of Yahoo! for two years from 2010, where he was also EVP, Americas and Head of Global Media.

Following that he joined media company Guggengeim Digital Media as CEO, where properties included The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard Magazine (which are both now owned by Eldridge Industries), Adweek, The Clio Awards, The Film Expo Group and digital extensions for Dick Clark Productions.

For the last year, Levinsohn has been Executive Chairman for advertising agency Mundo Media and he co-founded boutique strategic advisory firm Whisper Advisors in 2015.

He also sits on the board of directors at TV broadcaster Tribune Company, print and digital marketing firm Dex Media and VideoID technology company ZEFR.

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