Internet radio titan Pandora appoints digital advertising star as new chief

This undated image provided by Pandora shows the former head of the digital advertising company aQuantive, Brian McAndrews, named as Pandora's new chief executive. -- PHOTO: AP 
This undated image provided by Pandora shows the former head of the digital advertising company aQuantive, Brian McAndrews, named as Pandora's new chief executive. -- PHOTO: AP 

OAKLAND (AFP) - Internet radio titan Pandora on Wednesday appointed a digital advertising star as its chief executive in the increasingly competitive online music business.

Mr Brian McAndrews took the helm of the Oakland, California-based firm as Apple was poised to launch an iTunes Radio service with the Sept 18 release of new iOS software for powering iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch devices.

"It is a great privilege to be asked to lead Pandora at this important moment in the company's history," Mr McAndrews said in a release.

"By capturing the enthusiasm of more than 72 million monthly listeners, the management team...has made Pandora the clear internet radio leader and created a product that consumers love."

Mr McAndrews succeeds Mr Joe Kennedy, who announced his planned departure early this year after nine years at the company's helm.

Pandora went public in 2011 at US$16 (S$20) a share, but has been dogged by profitability concerns.

"We were very strategic about finding the right person - Brian is that person," said Pandora founder and chief strategy officer Tim Westergren.

After working at General Mills and ABC, Mr McAndrews took over Avenue A digital agency in Seattle in 1999. He built Avenue A into fast-growing digital marketing company aQuantive, which was bought by Microsoft in a US$6 billion deal in 2007.

Pandora shares rose more than five per cent to US$21.38 by the close of the Nasdaq on Wednesday then climbed to US$22.40 in after-market trades.