Pandora Names Roger Lynch New CEO and President

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The company also announced former Sony Ent. head Michael Lynton has joined its board of directors.

Roger Lynch, the founding CEO of Sling TV, has been appointed Pandora CEO and president starting Sept. 18. Lynch replaces Naveen Chopra, who served as Pandora’s interim CEO following Tim Westergren June 2017 departure.   Pandora also announced it has also appointed former Sony Entertainment head Michael Lynton to its board of directors.

“Roger brings a stellar leadership reputation, a wealth of consumer experience and a lifelong passion for music to Pandora – all of which are critical ingredients in the continued evolution of our company,” said Pandora’s current chairman, Roger Faxon in a statement. “We are absolutely confident that Roger is the right leader for Pandora who can create value for shareholders by marrying Pandora’s numerous assets with the opportunities ahead.”

Lynch launched Sling TV in 2015 and formerly served as evp of Advanced Technologies, for DISH Network and EchoStar Corporations. He also served as chairman and CEO of Video Networks International Ltd., a UK based IPTV provider. Prior to VNIL, Lynch was president and CEO of Chello Broadband in Amsterdam, Netherlands where he pioneered the rollout of consumer broadband services across Europe.  Previously he was a technology investment banker with Morgan Stanley in New York, Silicon Valley, and London.

The new CEO's ascension is surely meant to bring stability to the Internet radio platform which over the last year has had to scramble to keep up with on-demand streaming, the marketplace's dominant music delivery format and which Pandora only launched this past March. On June 9, SiriusXM's parent company Liberty Media, which is heavily invested in Pandora, put up $480 million for 16 percent preferred shares in the digital radio company. That same day Pandora sold its ticketing concern Ticketfly for $200 million which it h purchased in Oct. 2015 in a deal that was originally valued at $450 million but later reduced to $335 million.

These changes Faxon addressed in today's announcement. "As I have said before, with ‘digital radio’ at the core of our business, and both ‘Plus’ and ‘Premium’ as new, integral parts of our arsenal, Pandora is now in an ideal position to leverage changing consumer behaviors to further expand and monetize our listening audience," he said.  'We are very excited to welcome Roger as our CEO as we embark on our next chapter with renewed focus, a strong balance sheet, a strategic partnership with SiriusXM, and an incredible team of loyal and creative employees.”

In addition, Pandora announced it has appointed former Sony Entertainment head Michael Lynton to its board of directors.  Lynton is currently the chairman of Snap Inc., a position he has held since 2016 after joining Snap Inc.’s board in 2013. Prior to Snap Inc., Lynton was CEO of Sony Entertainment from 2012 until February 2017, and chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment for over 13 years. Prior to his work at Sony, he served as CEO of AOL Europe and president of both AOL International and Time Warner International, and as CEO of Penguin Publishing.

“We are also truly excited to welcome Michael Lynton to the Pandora Board,” said Tim Leiweke of the Oak View Group and who led the search committee on behalf of Pandora’s board of directors, in a statement. “Michael is a seasoned executive with strong business acumen and a long track record of leading public companies. He brings critical skills to our Board and will lend valuable counsel as we focus on driving meaningful, long-term value for our shareholders and capturing an increasing share of the music listening audience.”

“I have always admired Pandora for its innovative business and iconic brand, and I’m thrilled to be joining the board,” Lynton stated. “Pandora has numerous assets that can be leveraged for the benefit of both listeners and shareholders. I look forward to being part of its future.”

Chopra will continue in his role as chief financial officer.