Pandora CEO Joe Kennedy announces resignation as company reports strong Q4 results

Pandora Music Genome ProjectWell, there’s a surprise. Shortly after announcing better-than-expected quarterly financial results, Pandora CEO Joe Kennedy said he would be stepping down from the top job after almost nine years in charge.

In a company statement released Thursday, Kennedy said he was “incredibly proud” of his team and its achievements but said it was time to make way for someone else.

“As part of our Board discussions of the road that lies ahead, I reached the conclusion and advised the Board that the time is right to begin a process to identify my successor,” the outgoing boss of the Internet radio service said in the statement, adding, “There is a tremendous market opportunity ahead and I look forward to continuing to work with all the great people at Pandora to keep driving the business forward.”

Its latest set of quarterly figures revealed mobile revenue more than doubled on a year ago to $80.3 million. Fourth quarter revenue overall hit $125.1 million, marking an increase of 54 percent on a year earlier. This beat analysts’ expectations of $122.8 million, causing shares to jump by more than 20 percent in after-hours trading. However, company losses came in at $14.6 million, marking an increase of almost 80 percent on a year ago.


An indication that its finances were being squeezed came last week when the service announced it would be introducing a 40-hour cap for free listening on mobile devices, after which it would charge a small fee. It put the change down to rising royalty rates.

Despite attracting more users to its service – it currently has more than 67 million monthly active listeners – and increasing its revenue, Kennedy has decided to make way for someone new in the hope that they’ll be able to cut the mounting losses.

Also, according to what he told analysts during a conference call on Thursday, he’s ready for a new challenge. “As I approach the start of my tenth year, my head is telling me to get to a recharging station sooner rather than later,” he said, though he gave no specific details regarding future plans.

Kennedy intends to stay on as CEO of the Oakland, California-based company until the board names a replacement.