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Pandora has named Brian McAndrews, the former CEO of aQuantive, a large marketing and advertising firm acquired by Microsoft in 2007, as its new CEO, the web radio service said in a statement today. McAndrews is taking over for Joe Kennedy, who announced earlier this year he would step aside.

“We had very specific criteria for our new CEO,” said Tim Westergren, Pandora’s founder and chief strategy officer. “We were very strategic about finding the right person — Brian is that person. No one better understands the intersection of technology and advertising, which he clearly demonstrated during aQuantive’s meteoric rise. He has a recognized ability to set strategy, lead large teams and drive growth and innovation at great scale. He is also a natural cultural fit with Pandora. This is a great development for our company.”

It’s an interesting hire, I think.  Obviously McAndrews has the experience with technology and advertising but can he run an entertainment business?  One thing I’m getting from this hire is that Pandora is clearly focused on finding more ways to increase its advertising revenue which will hopefully lead to profit, something Pandora hasn’t seen any of.

That being said, iTunes Radio is looming and now more than ever, in addition to bringing in more ad dollars, Pandora needs to find ways to grow its listener base.

During the search for a new CEO many speculated that the company would hire someone like Mel Karmazin, the former CEO of Sirius XM.  Others thought the company would look for someone who was a proven winner in digital entertainment, such as Jason Kilar, former chief at Hulu.  And some speculated that Pandora would want someone who had experience getting legislation passed, since Pandora has tried for more than a year to convince Congress to lower the royalties it pays to play music.

It looks like all that speculation was dead wrong.

McAndrews is taking the reins effective immediately and clearly has his work cut out for him, though Wall Street apparently liked the hire as shares of Pandora jumped 6 percent.


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