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Pandora CEO Tim Westergren departs

Tim Westergren, shown in 2010, stepped down as CEO of Pandora on Tuesday.
(Nati Harnik / Associated Press)

Pandora, under intensifying pressure from music streaming rivals Spotify and Apple Music, said Tuesday that that Chief Executive Tim Westergren has stepped down from that role and is leaving the board.

Westergren, who co-founded Pandora 17 years ago, had a two-year stint as CEO from 2002 to 2004 and returned as CEO about 15 months ago. Since then, the company has revamped its $5-a-month Internet radio service, giving listeners the ability to skip and replay more songs. It also launched a new on-demand music service for $10 a month that lets users select the songs they want to hear, similar to what Spotify and Apple Music have offered.

But Pandora still trails its rivals in subscribers. It had 4.7 million paying subscribers at the end of March, while Spotify said it had more than 50 million. Pandora makes most of its money from advertising, bringing in nearly $1.1 billion in ad revenue last year.

Pandora said that Chief Financial Officer Naveen Chopra will serve as interim CEO as it looks for a permanent replacement. The company, based in Oakland, also said Tuesday that President Michael Herring has resigned from that position and that former MySpace and MTV Networks executive Jason Hirschhorn is joining Pandora’s board.

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Shares of Pandora Media Inc., which are already down 35% since the beginning of the year, slipped about 1% to $8.40 in morning trading Tuesday.

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