Nielsen CEO Mitch Barns leaves

  • Push-out Score determined
  • After about five years in the position
  • Accolades, praise and thanks for Barns
  • Search for a successor

(exechange) — New York, July 26, 2018 — Mitch Barns, chief executive of Nielsen, leaves. As announced by Nielsen Holdings plc in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Thursday, July 26, 2018, Dwight Mitchell (Mitch) Barns, Chief Executive Officer, leaves the data analytics company after about five years in the role, effective December 31, 2018.

Among the 3,000 largest publicly held companies incorporated in the U.S. based on market capitalization, the average tenure of the CEOs who departed over the past 12 months was 9.4 years, according to data compiled by exechange.

Nielsen will undertake a search for a successor.

No reason given

In the announcement, Nielsen did not explicitly explain the reason for Barns’s move, leaving room for speculation.

Precise information about Barns’s future plans was not immediately available.


Nielsen said: “Mitch Barns, Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board will retire from the company at the end of 2018. James Attwood, current Chairman of the Board, has been named Executive Chairman.”

Nielsen further said: “Mitch Barns, the Company’s Chief Executive Officer, will retire by the end of 2018.”

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in the share price of Nielsen Holdings plc since October 2016.

Chaired by James Attwood

Nielsen Holdings plc is chaired by James A. Attwood Jr.

Attwood has served as Chairman of the Board since January 1, 2016 and served as Lead Independent Director of the Board from January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015.

In the position of CEO since 2014

Mitch Barns is Chief Executive Officer of Nielsen.

He was appointed to this role in January 2014.

Since joining Nielsen in 1997, Barns has lived and worked on three continents and has held leadership roles across all major parts of Nielsen’s business.

Throughout 2013, Barns served as President, Global Client Service, leading the efforts of Nielsen’s client service organization worldwide.

Before that, Barns was President of Nielsen’s U.S. Media business from 2011-2013, where he oversaw the development of its analytics practice, guided the integration of its TV and Digital groups, and helped transform the unit’s client service model to focus on driving performance improvement and value for Nielsen’s clients.

From 2008-2011, Barns served as President of Nielsen’s Greater China business where he led its transition to a fast-growing, standalone region.

Prior to 2008, Barns held various leadership positions in the U.S. and Europe.

He began his career at Procter & Gamble, where he spent 12 years in marketing research and brand management.

Barns serves on the Board of Directors for the Monsanto Company, the Board of Directors for CECP, the Board of Directors for the Willow Creek Association and is a member of the American Heart Association CEO Roundtable.

Barns holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Miami University and completed the Stanford Executive Program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Barns will remain through the end of the year to oversee the company, including the key initiatives—Total Audience, the Connected System and the efforts to automate and streamline operations. With strong support from the Board, these efforts continue to be key priorities for Nielsen.

Push-out Score determined

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange suggests that push-out forces have contributed to the change.

Read the full story in the exechange report 31.2018 ($).