Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE: P) continued to rally this week following news that its chief executive officer, Tim Westergren, would be stepping down from his executive role and from his position on the board of directors. Effective immediately, it was announced, Chief Financial Officer Naveen Chopra will take over as the interim CEO. Pandora also appointed Jason Hirschhorn to its board, filling a recently vacated seat.
Prior to Monday’s move, the stock was actually down 36.5% so far in 2017, which is very weak in comparison to the broad markets. Over the past 52 weeks, the stock is down closer to 32%.
For some quick background: Chopra was hired on at Pandora back in February. Chopra previously served as the CEO and CFO at TiVo and is currently on the board of directors at Vonage.
Westergren is a 17-year industry veteran who actually co-founded the company, although he did not spend his entire time as the CEO. It is strange, however, to see a founder relinquish his role in the company like this, especially his spot on the board. Uber is seeing a similar situation with its CEO, although under different circumstances. In a release from Pandora, Westergren commented:
I am incredibly proud of the company we have built. We invented a whole new way of enjoying and discovering music and in doing so, forever changed the listening experience for millions. I came back to the CEO role last year to drive transformation across the business. We accomplished far more than we anticipated. We rebuilt Pandora’s relationships with the music industry; launched a fantastic Premium on-demand service, and brought a host of tech innovations to our advertising business. With these in place, plus a strengthened balance sheet, I believe Pandora is perfectly poised for its next chapter.
Shares of Pandora were last seen up 5.4% at $8.95 on Wednesday, with a consensus analyst price target of $11.59 and a 52-week trading range of $6.76 to $14.98. Over the past week, the stock is up 8%.