Pandora up 20%, CEO steps down

joe kennedy pandora music
Pandora CEO Joe Kennedy is stepping down after nine years at the helm.

Pandora's stock soared after the company surprised Wall Street investors on Thursday with better-than-expected quarterly sales and an announcement that its CEO will be stepping down.

Joe Kennedy has been at Internet radio company's helm for nearly a decade, and Kennedy said he'll stay at Pandora (P) until the company finds a new leader.

Shares of Pandora had fallen by more than a third since its June 2011 debut as a public company, but the stock has rallied this year on improving finances. The stock was up 20% in premarket trading Friday.

Kennedy said he "reached the conclusion" that it's time for him to move on, and he told the board to begin looking for a successor.

Pandora also announced strong quarterly revenue of $125.1 million, improved ad sales, and a better-than-expected forecast for the current quarter. The company continues to lose money, however, shedding $14.6 million in the past quarter.

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The popular service now has 67 million monthly active listeners. Pandora says it's the largest radio station in almost every major U.S. market, representing 8% of total U.S. radio listeners.

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