The Board of Directors of Nielsen Holdings plc announced that David Kenny will join the company as Chief Executive Officer effective December 3, 2018. David will also join Nielsen’s Board of Directors. David joins Nielsen from IBM, where he led IBM’s Cognitive Solutions business.
“The Board is delighted to announce David’s appointment,” said James Attwood, Executive Chairman of Nielsen. “His 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. His multi-disciplinary background and history of success make him a great fit for this position. The Board looks forward to David’s participation in the ongoing strategic review as we work to enhance shareholder value.”
“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,” explained Kenny. “I’m thrilled to join this industry-leading company at this point in time, when so much is possible.”
Most recently, Kenny served as Senior Vice President of Cognitive Solutions at IBM, where he led IBM’s AI platform and portfolio. He was also responsible for developing IBM Watson and their cloud platform. Previously, Kenny was Chairman and Chief Executive of The Weather Company, joining IBM after their acquisition of The Weather Company’s Product and Technology Business. He previously was President of cloud service provider Akamai and served as Co-Managing Partner at Publicis’ VivaKi. He also co-founded and served as Chairman and CEO of digital marketing agency Digitas continuing to lead the company after overseeing its sale to Publicis Groupe. Prior to Digitas, he was a Partner at Bain & Company.
Kenny succeeds Mitch Barns who, as previously announced, is retiring from the company on December 31 after 22 years. The Board thanks him for his dedicated service and leadership.
Kenny serves on the Board of Directors of Best Buy and Teach for America. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s degree from the GM Institute (now Kettering University).
The Board of Directors is continuing with its previously announced strategic review, led by James Attwood, Executive Chairman of the Board. This includes a broad review of strategic alternatives for the entire company and its businesses. The strategic review could result in a broad range of alternatives, including continuing to operate as a public, independent company; a separation of either Nielsen’s Watch or Buy segments; or a sale of the entire company. The Board of Directors continues to work expeditiously with our team of expert outside advisors, including JP Morgan Securities LLC, Guggenheim Securities LLC, and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and will provide further updates as appropriate.