Nielsen Names IBM’s David Kenny As New CEO
Nielsen Holdings has named its new CEO.
The company announced Tuesday that David Kenny would join the company as CEO as of December 3 and join its Board of Directors. Mitch Barns, the company’s CEO since 2014, had announced in July that he planned to retire at the end of the year.
Nielsen is responsible for media and television ratings, as well as a “buy” division, which tracks groceries and consumer products purchases. Kenny will inherit the company at a critical moment—its stock has dropped close to 30% in the last year and it began a still ongoing strategic review in September in an effort to “enhance shareholder value.”
The Wall Street Journal attributes the review to pressure from Elliott Management, an investment management firm that took an 8.4% stake in the company earlier this year. Elliott has reportedly pressured Nielsen to sell or spin off some of its assets.
Kenny is joining the ratings and data company from IBM (IBM), where he most recently served as Senior Vice President of Cognitive Solutions. According to a press release announcing his appointment, Kenny led IBM’s A.I. platform and portfolio in this role, and was also responsible for developing Watson and the company’s cloud platform.
Before joining IBM, Kenny was chairman and CEO of the Weather Company, and worked at a number of digital marketing agencies, as well as Bain & Company.