No Shoplifting: Banana Republic CMO Plucked By Pandora


Pandora has a new CMO.

This individual is charging with bringing “Pandora’s next chapter to life through cutting-edge digital, social and mobile marketing initiatives.” She’ll also be tasked with leading consumer brand strategy, market positioning, performance-based and partnership marketing for the company.

It’s not exactly an easy task, which is now handed to Aimée Lapic.

Lapic joins Pandora following a 13-year run at Gap Inc., where she most recently held the roles of CMO for its Banana Republic brand and GM for Banana Republic’s online and digital arm. In that role, Lapic was lauded for successful efforts in paid-social media and other digital marketing programs—something likely of keen interest for Pandora, which is trading just above $5 per share and is the subject of rumors regarding the acquisition by February 2018 of an ad-tech company.

Lapic’s roles in Gap Inc. also include a stint as SVP/GM of International Gap Outlet. Before 2004, she held senior roles at Providian (now Chase); and at internet startups (acquired by Cyber U) and (acquired by Citibank Mortgage). She has also served as a consultant for McKinsey & Company.

She currently serves on the CMO Advisory Board for Ridge Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm that invests in consumer internet and enterprise companies.

“Aimée brings to Pandora a deep customer focus and long track record of driving significant growth for consumer brands,” said Pandora President/CEO Roger Lynch. “She has the exact performance and partner marketing experience we need to take Pandora to the next level and expand our audience across all tiers of service.”

“I’m incredibly excited to join Pandora at such a pivotal time in the company’s history,” Lapic said. “Pandora wrote the playbook on personalized music. I can’t wait to help shape the next chapter by attracting and engaging listeners in innovative new ways.”

“Pivotal” is perhaps an understatement for Pandora, which has had a difficult 2017 on Wall Street and across the digital world. On December, on heavier than average volume, “P” shares plunged by more than 4% to come very close to its all-time low of $4.57.

However, Street sentiment is improving. On Dec. 1, a IHS Markit Score report on the company reflected an upgrade to “Neutral,” from “Negative.” Further, bearish sentiment on Pandora “is moderate and declining.”

Ad sales will push those positive sentiments farther in the investment community, as Pandora’s Q3 reveals key difficulties in the world of streaming audio.

Pandora’s total revenue in Q3 jumped to $378.6 million, from $351.9 million. This is largely thanks to ad growth — advertising dollars accounted for $275.7 million in revenue in Q3, up from $273.7 million.

At the same time, Pandora’s premium-tier options are attracting consumers, as its subscription revenue climbed to $84.4 million, from $56.1 million.

Yet, Pandora saw statistically flat gross profit in Q3 of $135.86 million, down from $136.35 million. On a non-GAAP basis, gross profit dipped to $138.24 million, from $139.34 million. It’s very clear as to why this happened: Content acquisition costs for Pandora skyrocketed in Q3 to $204.22 million, from $174.33 million.