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Pandora Names Former Microsoft Exec McAndrews as CEO

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Pandora (P - Get Report) said on Wednesday it has appointed Brian McAndrews, a former Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) executive, to succeed Joe Kennedy as Chief Executive Officer, President and Chairman, effective immediately.

McAndrews may bring a strong set of skills to Pandora, which appears to be at a turning point as the business grows its scale amid competitive threats from far larger technology firms such as Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG). Pandora also has yet to show investors it can be run profitably.

After beginning his career at General Mills and ABC, McAndrews built aQuantive from a small Seattle-based digital marketing agency in 1999 to an industry powerhouse that was acquired by Microsoft for $6 billion in 2007. McAndrews then served as a senior vice president at Microsoft, running the company's Advertiser & Publisher Solutions group before joining venture capital firm Madrona. He also currently serves on the boards of The New York Times (NYT), Grubhub Seamless and AppNexus.

The hiring of McAndrews ends a CEO search Pandora company began when outgoing head Kennedy announced his decision to retire in March 2013.

"We had very specific criteria for our new CEO, and we were very strategic about finding the right person -- Brian is that person," Tim Westergren, Pandora's founder and chief strategy officer, said in a statement.

"No one better understands the intersection of technology and advertising, which he clearly demonstrated during aQuantive's meteoric rise," Westegren added.

Pandora's shares gained over 5% in after-hours trading to $22.60, a new one-year high for the streaming Internet radio provider. Pandora shares have soared over 100% this year amid narrowing losses and strong mobile usage growth.

With a strong set of experiences in the marketing sector and experience withing corporations as large as Microsoft, McAndrews may be able to identify a path towards profitability that has so far eluded Pandora despite its popularity among consumers. Pandora is routinely one of the most downloaded applications on Apple, Google and Microsoft mobile operating systems.

"By capturing the enthusiasm of more than 72 million monthly listeners, the management team, led by Joe and Tim, has made Pandora the clear internet radio leader and created a product that consumers love," McAndrews said in a statement.

-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York

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