Nielsen Opts for Insider, Picking Veteran Mitch Barns As Next CEO

nielsen Ratings

Ratings and measurement company chooses one of its own to succeed outsider Calhoun

After relying on an outsider to the media and ad industry for many years, Nielsen Holdings will now depend more heavily on one of its own.

Nielsen, the measurement-and-ratings company working furiously to stay relevant to media companies and advertisers at a time when consumers have more avenues to video entertainment than the living-room TV set, said Tuesday that Mitch Barns, a company veteran, would assume the chief-executive reins from current topper David Calhoun as of January 1, 2014.

Barns is a 28-year veteran of the marketing business who has spent the last 16 years at Nielsen. Calhoun will become executive chairman of the company’s board of directors, and the current Nielsen chairman, former Gillette chief executive James M. Kilts, will step down while remaining a company director. Calhoun joined Nielsen following a 26-year career with General Electric, and helped supervise Nielsen’s transformation from a privately held concern into a publicly traded company.

Barns is currently Nielsen’s president of global client service,  overseeing $5.5 billion in revenue. Earlier, Barns served as president of Nielsen’s U.S. television ratings business, where he oversaw the transformation of the unit as well as the expansion and enhancement of its local ratings service. He also served as president of Nielsen’s operations in greater China, and as president of Nielsen’s BASES and Analytic Consulting businesses, which are the center of the company’s insights services operations. Barns began his career at Procter & Gamble, where he spent 12 years in marketing research and brand management. He holds a B.S. in business administration from Miami University and completed the Stanford Executive Program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.


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