Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE:NLSN), a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy, today announced that effective January 1, 2014, Dwight M. (“Mitch”) Barns will succeed David L. Calhoun as Chief Executive Officer, reporting to the Board of Directors. Barns is a 28-year marketing veteran who has spent the last 16 years at Nielsen building broad experience leading the Company’s core businesses globally, regionally and in the U.S. Calhoun will become Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors, at which time Nielsen’s current Chairman of the Board, James M. Kilts, will step down as Chairman, but will remain a Board Member.
“Nielsen is successfully implementing its global strategy, and the time is right to name the next leader to take the company to its next phase of growth,” said Calhoun. “Mitch’s strong track record at the helm of a number of key Nielsen business units around the world – combined with his vision and commitment to our strategic plan – puts the company on solid footing for continued global expansion and value creation,” he added. “I will continue to remain invested in Mitch’s success in my new role.”
"I am honored by this opportunity to serve Nielsen as its Chief Executive Officer, and I am thankful for the Board’s vote of confidence," said Barns. “Throughout my 16 years at this company, I’ve been privileged to work side-by-side with talented leaders and associates in Nielsen businesses across the world. I look forward to continuing our work together to anticipate client needs with ongoing innovation and expand our footprint in developing markets, while consistently delivering growth and enhancing shareholder value," he added.
Barns is a long-time marketing expert who joined Nielsen in 1997. He is currently President, Global Client Service, overseeing $5.5 billion in revenue and leading the efforts of Nielsen’s Watch and Buy client service teams worldwide. Earlier, Barns served as President of Nielsen’s U.S. television ratings business, where he oversaw the transformation of the unit’s client service model and architected the expansion and enhancement of its local ratings service. He also served as President, Greater China – where he led the transition to a fast-growing, stand-alone region – as well as global President of Nielsen’s BASES and Analytic Consulting businesses, which have become the core of the company’s growing insights services. 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.