Karthik Rao has been named CEO of Nielsen, while David Kenny, who has served in the role since 2018, will transition to executive chairman.
Since early 2023, Rao has served as CEO of Nielsen’s Audience Measurement business, responsible for driving and evolving the company’s audience measurement. His primary focus has been on enabling a currency across all media distribution and consumption models globally. Prior to this role, 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 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.”
Kenny said: “This is an exciting day for Nielsen and for me. 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.”
David Kerko, head of private equity at Elliott Investment Management, which backs Nielsen, said: “We have spent the past five years engaged with Nielsen and even more closely since the acquisition nearly a year ago. 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.”