NEWS20 November 2018

IBM’s Kenny named CEO of Nielsen

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US – Nielsen has appointed IBM’s David Kenny as its new chief executive, succeeding Mitch Barns.

Kenny has been senior vice-president of IBM Watson and the company’s Cognitive Solutions business since early 2016, leading the AI platform and portfolio and developing Watson. Prior to IBM he spent five years as chairman and chief executive of The Weather Company and has held director roles at Yahoo and Publicis.

Current chief executive Mitch Barns will retire on 31 December after 22 years with the business. Kenny takes up the role effective from 3 December, and will also join the company’s board of directors.

James Attwood, executive chairman of Nielsen, said: "David’s decades of experience in big data, artificial intelligence, cloud technologies, and media make him perfectly suited to lead Nielsen at this critical time. Having spent a substantial portion of his career working in the advertising world, he has a deep and holistic understanding of advertisers and how best to serve them, and he has a proven track record of implementing growth strategies, overseeing strategic transactions and creating value for stakeholders."

Kenny joins as Nielsen continues its strategic review, assessing a range of options including continuing to operate as a public, independent company, separating out either its Buy or Watch segments, or a sale. No timescale for the completion of the review has been shared by the company.

Attwood added: "The board looks forward to David’s participation in the ongoing strategic review as we work to enhance shareholder value."