NEW YORK—Nielsen has announced that Karthik Rao has been named CEO and that David Kenny, who has served as CEO since 2018, will assume the role of executive chairman.
“Nielsen has been my home for most of my career, and I could not be more excited for this new opportunity,” said Rao. “Providing our client partners, the ad industry, and content creators of all types, the most accurate information possible is our singular goal. Nielsen invented measurement a century ago. In that time, the way audiences consume content has fundamentally shifted many times over, and we are committed to continuing to partner with our customers to lead that change. I am fortunate to work alongside the best in the business, around the world, as we address unprecedented times of transition in our business. Together with our talented employees, I look forward to positioning Nielsen for the next century and beyond.”
“This is an exciting day for Nielsen and for me,” David Kenny added. “I have been fortunate to lead this company through some extraordinary times in the past five years, working alongside Karthik for much of it. As I transition to my new role and my operating responsibilities come to an end, I hand over leadership to someone with extensive experience in knowing what Nielsen does best, backed by the skills and understanding to position the company for a vibrant future. He has my complete support and I wish him, and everyone at Nielsen, nothing but tremendous success.”
Since early 2023, Rao has served as CEO of Nielsen’s Audience Measurement business, responsible for driving and evolving Nielsen’s audience measurement in the midst of unprecedented disruption and transition. His primary focus has been on enabling a currency across all media distribution and consumption models globally.
Prior to being named CEO of the audience measurement business, Rao served as Nielsen’s chief operating officer. Before that he was the CEO of Nielsen Portfolio, leading the fully independent division comprising Nielsen Entertainment, Nielsen Gracenote, Nielsen Brandbank and the Nielsen Telecom businesses across all global markets.
Nielsen is owned by Elliott Investment Management L.P. (“Elliott”), and Brookfield Business Partners L.P., together with institutional partners (collectively “Brookfield”).
“We have spent the past five years engaged with Nielsen, and even more closely since the acquisition nearly a year ago,” said David Kerko, head of private equity at Elliott. “We have seen great progress already, and we want to thank David for all he has done to contribute to that success. Karthik is now the right leader for Nielsen, which is well positioned to evolve with and support the media ecosystem as it undergoes a period of dramatic change. Karthik’s expansive industry experience, deep client relationships, and proven track record make him ideally suited to manage this evolution and make Nielsen’s value stronger than ever.”
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George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.