Pandora said on Thursday that Joseph Kennedy is stepping down as the company's chairman, CEO and president. However, he will continue on as CEO until the company names his successor in order to ensure an orderly transition. Kennedy has helmed the company since July 2004.
"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," he said. "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."
During his tenure, Pandora has become the world's largest personalized Internet radio service, with over 67 million monthly active listeners. It has also become the largest radio station in almost every major U.S. market, and even delivered a total revenue of $427.1 million and mobile revenues of $255.9 million in fiscal 2013 alone.
"During his tenure, Joe and his management team created a terrific business from the ground up, and, through his stewardship during the formative stages of Internet radio, Pandora now leads with 70-percent market share," said Robert Kavner, Pandora’s Lead Independent Director. "We appreciate his continued strong leadership and dedication to the Company through this process."
Kennedy helped conceive and build the Pandora Radio product along with VP Engineering Tom Conrad and VP Business Development Jessica Steel, based on tech developed by Savage Beast Technologies. The company received venture funding back in March 2004 to focus on building a consumer facing service (rather than licensing the tech), and became Pandora Media in July 2005.
"Over the last nine years I have enjoyed an extraordinary partnership with Joe, working with him to grow the Company and build an exceptional team," said Tim Westergren, Pandora Founder and Chief Strategy Officer. "I look forward to continuing to work with Joe to achieve our goals for 2013 and to help assure a smooth leadership transition."
Pandora said on Thursday the Board of Directors has formed a search committee and will engage a nationally-recognized search firm to help identify candidates as expeditiously as possible.