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Pandora Names New Leader

Board says Brian McAndrews marries tech with advertising

The Pandora Board of Directors named Brian McAndrews as the company’s new chief executive officer, president and chairman. He begins immediately, replacing Joe Kennedy, who said in March he wanted to retire.

Following senior positions at General Mills and ABC, McAndrews, took over Avenue A, a small digital agency in Seattle in 1999, and as president and chief executive officer built it into digital marketing company aQuantive. Microsoft acquired aQuantive for $6 billion in 2007. After serving as a Senior Vice President at Microsoft and running Microsoft’s Advertiser & Publisher Solutions group, McAndrews joined Madrona as an investing partner in 2009, focusing on early-stage technology companies. In addition to his work at Madrona, McAndrews is on the boards of The New York Times Co., Grubhub Seamless and AppNexus.

The board wanted a candidate who could build on Pandora’s position in Internet audio and accelerate its fast-growing advertising business. “We had very specific criteria for our new CEO, and we were very strategic about finding the right person — Brian is that person,” said Tim Westergren, Pandora’s founder and chief strategy officer.

McAndrews, according to Westergren, understands the intersection of technology and advertising and calls McAndrews a “natural cultural fit with Pandora. “He has a recognized ability to set strategy, lead large teams and drive growth and innovation at great scale.”

Kennedy stayed on through the transition process. Pandora Board representative Robert Kavner thanked Kennedy for his “tireless leadership” and for “handing over a company that is strong and well-positioned for long-term growth.”