Pandora Names Former Microsoft Ad Exec Brian McAndrews As Its New CEO

Pandora just announced that it has appointed former ad executive Brian McAndrews as its new CEO, president and chairman. The company announced in March that its CEO, Joe Kennedy, would be stepping down, although he would continue serving in that position until a replacement was found.

McAndrews was most recently a partner at Madrona Venture Group, but it sounds like he was particularly attractive to Pandora because of his experience in the ad world.

He was CEO of digital marketing company aQuantive from 1999 until 2007, when it was acquired by Microsoft for more than $6 billion. After that, he served as senior vice president at Microsoft, running the company’s advertiser and publisher solutions group until he left for Madrona in 2009. (The aQuantive story didn’t have a happy ending for Microsoft — after the acquisition didn’t perform as well as expected, the software giant took a $6.2 billion writedown.)

McAndrews is currently on the boards of The New York Times Company, the newly merged GrubHub Seamless, and adtech company AppNexus.

In the press release announcing McAndrews’ appointment, Pandora founder and chief strategy officer Tim Westergren said:

We had very specific criteria for our new CEO, and 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.

In its most recent earnings report, Pandora announced that it has seen enough success with other routes of monetization (primarily advertising) that it was lifting the 40-hour listening limit on its mobile version, and that it expected to be profitable for the full year.