Pandora has been looking for a new CEO since (now former) chief exec Joe Kennedy announced he would be stepping down from the role back in March after nearly a decade of leading the company. The streaming music business is currently struggling to boost its revenue, which has seen steady growth over the last year, high enough to combat what Pandora sees as excessively high music licensing costs. Right now it’s generating the bulk of its revenue from promotions and advertising sales — specifically ad sales in a growing number of local markets.
But as for McAndrews, he’s previously the founder and former CEO of aQuantive, a digital ad agency that Microsoft bought for $6 billion back in 2007. And while he hasn’t held an executive position in the last few years, McAndrews does serve on the board of many notable tech/media companies, including AppNexus, Clearwire, Grubhub, and the New York Times Co. That said, McAndrews’ background with advertising should make him well suited to lead Pandora.
“We had very specific criteria for our new CEO, and we were very strategic about finding the right person — Brian is that person,” said Pandora founder Tim Westergren in a statement. “No one better understands the intersection of technology and advertising, which he clearly demonstrated during aQuantive’s meteoric rise.”
While there are plenty of people who typically compare Pandora with a growing number of streaming music services — Spotify, iTunes Radio, Slacker, etc. — the company is actually trying to compete mostly with terrestrial (traditional AM/FM) radio, which accounts for a very large part of the overall radio advertising market. Pandora accounts for just 7 percent of total radio listening — meaning there should be plenty of room for growth. It’ll be interesting to see McAndrews’ approach to solidifying Pandora’s presence in the local radio ad sales market.