Pandora's chief executive officer, Tim Westergren, is reportedly planning to step down from the position, according to sources close to the company. Westergren has been leading the company since March of 2016 and played a pivotal role in pushing its Pandora Premium service – which is an add-on, on-demand version of Pandora's streaming music services that costs just under $10 per month for subscribers. He also co-founded the company. Although his resignation from the position is said to be on the horizon, the sources also confided that he will likely not be stepping down until a replacement has been found.
In the meantime, there is no expected timeline or timeframe for Westergren to be replaced. There has also been no indication whatsoever as to why he is stepping down. Despite that fact, it could very well be tied to a deal recently made between the popular music-on-demand provider and another, similarly placed company. Near the beginning of June, SiriusXM made a significant investment in Pandora – offering up $480 million in exchange for a 19 percent stake in the company. That deal included three seats on Pandora's board for SiriusXM and a chairmanship which, in turn, gives over what equates to a relatively large amount of control to SiriusXM. At very least it provides SiriusXM leadership with substantial leverage in decisions made at Pandora and that could be a contributing factor in Westergren's decision to step down. The decision could also be, in part, down to Q4 2016 results. Expectations for the company going into 2017 also revealed that up to 7 percent of the company's workforce would be cut. Moreover, the company saw a net loss of $343 million in 2016, which could also be playing a role in Westergren's decision despite a decent uptick in Pandora Premium subscribers. Finally, the decision could also have been impacted by a recent lawsuit brought against the company by PayPay regarding logo design.
Whether or not any of the factors listed above played any role in Pandora's CEO stepping down may remain a mystery, unless or until the company itself makes an official announcement. In fact, those may turn out to have nothing at all to do the matter. In either case, the tech industry is often volatile and so is the music industry. Pandora could experience a turnaround thanks to input from the relatively successful SiriusXM and that company's investment. It is also entirely possible that the company's rollercoaster of ups and downs will continue whatever the outcome and irrespective of who takes Westergren's place at Pandora.