×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Nielsen Names IBM Exec David Kenny CEO

Nielsen has picked its new CEO: David Kenny, previously head of IBM’s artificial-intelligence unit and former chief exec of the Weather Company.

Kenny succeeds 22-year Nielsen veteran Mitch Barns, who as previously announced is retiring from the media-measurement company. Barns, who had been CEO since 2013, will step down as chief executive officer on Dec. 3, and will remain with the company until Dec. 31 in an advisory capacity to Kenny.

In a statement, Nielsen exec chairman James Attwood said Kenny’s “decades of experience in Big Data, artificial intelligence, cloud technologies, and media make him perfectly suited to lead Nielsen at this critical time.”

Kenny’s appointment comes as Nielsen continues to undergo a strategic-review process, including a potential sale. According to the company, the board’s review could result in a separation of either Nielsen’s Watch or Buy segments, a sale of the entire company, or Nielsen continuing to operate as a publicly traded independent company. “The board looks forward to David’s participation in the ongoing strategic review as we work to enhance shareholder value,” said Attwood.

Kenny said in a prepared statement, “Nielsen is uniquely placed at the intersection of marketing data and technology. In today’s era of fast-moving, ever-changing consumers and markets, it is this combination that drives businesses forward.”

Most recently, Kenny, who is 57, served as senior VP of Cognitive Solutions at IBM, where he led the tech company’s IBM Watson AI platform and portfolio business and was responsible for developing the IBM cloud platform. He joined IBM with Big Blue’s 2015 acquisition of the Weather Company’s product and technology business.

He previously was president of content delivery network provider Akamai Technologies and co-managing partner at Publicis Groupe’s VivaKi. Kenny also co-founded and served as chairman and CEO of digital marketing agency Digitas; he continued to lead the company after overseeing its sale to Publicis. Prior to Digitas, he was a partner at consulting firm Bain & Co. from 1987-97.

Kenny serves on the board of retailer Best Buy and not-for-profit org Teach for America. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the GM Institute (now Kettering University) and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

According to an SEC filing, Nielsen is granting Kenny a compensation package that includes a base annual salary of $1.3 million; an annual bonus target award of $1.925 million; stock currently worth $13.9 million; and options to purchase 1.1 million shares subject to certain restrictions. In addition, in February 2019 Kenny is eligible to receive an additional $7 million in restricted stock, as well as a $2.5 million cash-retention award and a $1.5 million incentive payment to compensate him for the loss of equivalent payouts from IBM in 2018.

More TV

  • Dom Delport

    Vice Swings to Profit in the U.K., Eyes International Partnerships

    After a tumultuous period involving harassment scandals, job losses and restructuring, Vice has registered a small profit in the U.K., according to the company’s latest results. The uptick is welcome news for Vice as its new international boss, Dominique Delport, scopes out new production and partnership possibilities for the company’s content business. The U.K. was [...]

  • Stephen Colbert

    Stephen Colbert Mocks Former CBS Chief Leslie Moonves on 'Late Show'

    Leslie Moonves was known to take an active dislike of David Letterman making fun of him during that host’s tenure on CBS’ “The Late Show.” He probably isn’t enjoying being mentioned by Stephen Colbert either. Colbert used his monologue on Tuesday’s broadcast to poke fun at the former CBS Corp. CEO, who yesterday learned that [...]

  • Ruth Wilson and Idris Elba'Luther Series

    'Luther' Creator Neil Cross Working on Show's Movie Version, Idris Elba Says

    A movie version of crime series “Luther” is moving forward, with writer-creator Neil Cross working on the script, the show’s star Idris Elba confirmed at the launch of Season 5 in London. “We are really advancing on getting a movie version [of the show] up on the screen,” Elba said. “Neil is beavering away on [...]

  • THE VOICE -- "Blind Auditions" --

    TV News Roundup: NBC Announces Midseason Premiere Dates

    In today’s roundup, NBC reveals midseason premiere dates for six shows, including “The Voice.” DATES  NBC has announced midseason premiere dates for four returning and two new series. “The Voice” will air Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, Feb. 26 at 8 p.m., and March 5 at 8 p.m. It will return April 23 at 8 [...]

  • Penny Marshall Dead Obit

    Remembering Penny Marshall, Who Forged Her Own Path and Paved the Way for Others

    She was a natural comedian — fearless and funny, willing to trade on her natural Bronx brogue to craft a sassy and street-wise character that was tailor-made for sitcoms. But Penny Marshall, who died Monday night at the age of 75, proved throughout her long career that she had so much more in the way [...]

  • David Rhodes CBS News

    CBS News Faces New Challenges in Weeks Ahead

    At CBS News, President David Rhodes has a series of important decisions to make that could affect the trajectories of some of TV’s best-known news programs. As its parent company seeks to move forward from recent seismic events – the ouster of its former CEO, Leslie Moonves; a corporate probe into its workplace culture; and [...]

  • European Union Placeholder

    Europe, Hollywood Hail Landmark E.U. Territorial Licensing Agreement

    Industry organizations and major companies in Europe and Hollywood welcomed Tuesday a high-level European Union agreement that in large part preserves producers’ ability to sell movies and TV shows on an exclusive territory-by-territory basis. Territorial licensing is a financial backbone of the film and TV business in Europe. Recognition of such licensing came last Thursday in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content