NEWS5 October 2011

Ex-Nielsen leader Arthur C. Nielsen Jr dies aged 92

North America Video

US— Arthur C. Nielsen Jr, son of the founder of market research giant Nielsen and a long-time president and chairman of the company, has died aged 92.

Nielsen joined the firm in 1945 after four years serving as a major in the Army Corps of Engineers in World War II. He became president in 1957 and chairman in 1975, overseeing the company’s growth from $4m in annual revenue to $680m by the time he retired from active leadership, becoming chairman emeritus, in 1983.

Today, Nielsen turns over more than $5bn a year.

Arthur Nielsen Jr was born in 1919, the oldest of five children. Four years later, his father founded the company he would go on to run. Nielsen, the company, began life as a provider of engineering performance surveys but expanded into measuring food and drug store sales in 1932, which became its most profitable business line.

It moved into radio audience measurement in 1936 and television measurement in 1950. During Arthur Nielsen Jr’s time at the helm, the business also started tracking magazine subscriptions while its services now stretch to measuring books, CD and DVD sales, and mobile and online media audiences.

As chairman emeritus, Nielsen oversaw the sale of the business to Dun & Bradstreet in 1984, which in turn sold the business on to VNU, a Dutch group since acquired by a consortium of private equity firms.

Nielsen died on Monday in his home town of Winnetka, Illinois. He is survived by two sons and a daughter, seven grandchildren, a brother and two sisters.

In 1964, Nielsen appeared as a guest on TV show ‘What’s My Line?’ in which a celebrity panel were asked to guess his identity.


1 Comment

13 years ago

I had the privilege of meeting Art Nielsen Jnr when he last visited the Nielsen office in Oxford in 2006. It was wonderful to listen to him talk about the early years when he joined his father in running the Nielsen company. And how proud they both must have been with what the company has achieved. He was a great man - known the world over - and I'm sure I speak for many when I offer my sincere condolences to his family at this sad time.

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