Pandora CEO Tim Westergren to step down

Traders work at the kiosk where Pandora internet radio is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in this

Update: Pandora has announced, as rumored, that CEO Tim Westergren has made a decision to step down immediately from the job, and that CFO Naveen Chopra will serve as interim chief while a permanent replacement is sought.

Westergren, who co-founded Pandora in 2000, served as its CEO and president from May 2002 to July 2004, before returning to lead the company a year ago.

Recode first reported the news Sunday night, but the company declined to comment at the time.

Satellite radio network SiriusXM recently said that it will invest $480 million in Pandora, forging a union between two companies that have operated on parallel tracks.

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Pandora's value diminished as it struggled to keep up with streamed music competitors including Amazon, Apple, Google, and Spotify. Pandora, which has seen its model lose ground to on-demand online platforms such as Spotify, last month appealed for buyers.

"We expect the new CEO of (Pandora) to come from (Sirius) directly, or from John Malone's extensive rolodex", Needham & Co analyst Laura Martin wrote in a note.

Westergren is not only stepping down from the top executive spot, but is also resigning from Oakland company's board of directors, the company announced Tuesday. Pandora sold a 19-percent stake of itself to Sirius XM earlier this month. Pandora burned through $182 million in cash a year ago and another $36 million in the first quarter of 2017. Grumblings are, however, that Sirius XM has little interest in this service. That suggests Pandora may shift its focus to improving its financial performance, even if it means less investments in campaigns that could add to subscriber growth.

Pandora was an early pioneer in streaming music, and grew its user base to more than 80 million people, most of whom used the free version of its web radio service. However, it spent much of 2016 building Premium from the pieces of Rdio, which it acquired at the end of 2015 - losing precious time as the streaming market became ever more mainstream.

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