Pandora Technology Chief Departs Weeks After New Product Launch

  • Chris Martin ‘centerpiece of Pandora engineering’ since 2004
  • Pandora confirms departure of CTO in emailed statement

Pandora Sale a Likely Exit Amid Growth Challenges

Pandora Media Inc. said Chief Technology Officer Chris Martin is stepping down, just weeks after the online-radio company introduced a new service to lure new users and fend off growing rivals such as Spotify Ltd.

Martin “has decided to move on from Pandora,” the company said Friday in an emailed statement. He had been with the Pandora since 2004. “Chris has been the centerpiece of engineering, helping to shape a team and culture that is the envy of our peers,” according to the statement.

Pandora, based in Oakland, California, is counting on its new on-demand music-streaming service, Pandora Premium, to help the company reverse a streak of financial losses and a tumbling stock price. The company said this week it’s shaking up its board and stepping up efforts to find a possible buyer.

Shares of Pandora rose 3.4 percent to $9.82 on Friday. They have dropped 25 percent this year.

Pandora introduced the on-demand service later than expected and won’t generate significant revenue from subscribers until the second half of the year, Chief Financial Officer Naveen Chopra said this week on a call with investors.

The company has said it can add customers because the market for paid streaming is still in its infancy. Yet more than 100 million people around the world are already paying for a music service of some kind, including more than 20 million people in Pandora’s home market.

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