Pandora poaches Sling TV’s Lynch

Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch (Dish Network)
Soon-to-be-former Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch.

Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch is headed to Pandora, where he’ll serve as president and CEO, as well as on the board of directors, the music streaming service announced

“I want to thank Roger for his leadership over the past eight years, creating and defining the country’s first live OTT service,” said Charlie Ergen, Dish Chairman and CEO, in a statement. “Roger built a fantastic team that will take Sling TV into the bright future ahead, and I wish Roger the best in his new endeavor.”

Lynch, the OTT architect who led the launch of the seminal virtual pay-TV service will be replaced as President and CEO of Sling TV by Erik Carlson, who is currently president and COO of the Dish Network, effective August 31.

“Erik is positioned to fully support and grow our enterprise’s portfolio, including our Sling TV asset, as we work to connect 100 percent of the country through satellite, OTT, wireless and even digital over-the-air offerings,” said Ergen added. “Our company has built incredible assets from satellite, broadband, and streaming technologies, to a fleet of in-home experts and software development. We will continue to leverage those assets to be tuned in to the needs of our customers.”

Lynch, a former Morgan Stanley investment banker, joined EchoStar/Dish in 2009 as executive VP of advanced technologies. He led the launch of the industry’s first vMVPD service in February 2015, a service that has grown to serve nearly 1.45 million subscribers, according to one analyst's estimate. 

The Pandora opening was created over the spring, with the departure of founder Tim Westergren and the purchase of a 19% stake in the streaming service by SiriusXM, which has invested $480 million. Pandora raised another $200 million by selling its Ticketfly business to Eventbrite. 

“Roger brings a stellar leadership reputation, a wealth of consumer experience, and a lifelong passion for music to Pandora—all of which are critical ingredients in the continued evolution of our company,” said Pandora Chairman Roger Faxon in a statement. 

“We are absolutely confident that Roger is the right leader for Pandora who can create value for shareholders by marrying Pandora’s numerous assets with the opportunities ahead,” Faxon added. “With ‘digital radio’ at the core of our business, and both ‘Plus’ and ‘Premium’ as new, integral parts of our arsenal, Pandora is now in an ideal position to leverage changing consumer behaviors to further expand and monetize our listening audience. We are very excited to welcome Roger as our CEO as we embark on our next chapter with renewed focus, a strong balance sheet, a strategic partnership with SiriusXM, and an incredible team of loyal and creative employees.”

In addition to hiring away Lynch, Pandora named Snap Chairman and former Sony Pictures studio boss Michael Lynton to its board. 

“I cannot imagine a more important and exciting time to join Pandora,” said Lynch in the statement. “With a massive, diverse and highly engaged audience, a market-leading digital advertising business, a best-in-class product portfolio and an extremely passionate and talented group of people, Pandora is well-positioned to capture an even greater market opportunity.”

UPDATED: This story was updated to include the appointment of Erik Carlson to Sling TV president and CEO.