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Pandora CEO Joe Kennedy to step down

Pandora CEO Joe Kennedy will ankle the company as soon as a successor is named, the Internet radio giant announced Thursday in a conference call, along with its fourth-quarter earnings.

The exec, who has topped the company since 2004, said in a statement, “As I near the start of my 10th year at the helm of Pandora, I am incredibly proud of the team and what we have accomplished in redefining radio. … 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.”

Kennedy’s tenure at Pandora has been nothing if not eventful, encompassing the company’s rise to undisputed market leader of Internet radio, congressional hearings, fights over royalties and Pandora’s expansion to a publicly traded company in 2011. Pandora founder and chief strategy officer Tim Westergren will remain with the company, and its board of directors will form a search committee for another topper.

As for the company’s earnings report, despite competition from a deluge of streaming music competitors and continuing uncertainty over future royalty rates, Pandora showed some strong growth figures, along with typically high expenses.

For the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, Pandora reported $427 million in total revenue, a 56% increase over the previous year, with costs and expenses totaling $464 million. Advertising accounted for $375 million, with subscriptions and other revenues adding up to $51 million. The company’s active user base reached 65.6 million, with total listener hours registering at 4.05 billion, both representing company highs.

Pandora’s share of the U.S. radio market increased to 8%, up from 6.5% last year.

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