Dave Thomas, President Global Media Client Services at Nielsen, is to leave the firm after 22 years. His replacement will be Mitch Barns, currently President of Nielsen Greater China.
Thomas joined Nielsen Media Research in 1989 as VP President, National Account Group Manager for the Nielsen Homevideo Index, and has since served as SVP, Strategy and Business Development for the division and led Nielsen Advertiser Services. Before joining the research giant, he held positions at 7-UP, DeWitt Media (now Publicis' Optimedia), Media Buying Services International, and Cunningham & Walsh.
Back in 2006, Thomas was credited with helping resolve an issue with News Corporation about ratings methods for minority TV audiences, which ultimately influenced the way Nielsen measures and weights its TV audiences. The dispute ended with News Corporation awarding
Nielsen what Thomas described as a ‘landmark’ eight-year contract to provide audience measurement services for 49 News Corp. television entities, including TV audience estimates for 35 Fox-owned local television stations. The contract was one of the industry’s biggest-ever deals, valued at c.$1bn.
According to a report in MediaPost, Thomas will take time off before job hunting. He will be replaced on June 1 by Barns, who has been with the firm in a variety of roles since 1997. Barns took up his current position in 2008, before which he was Global President, Consumer Panel Services, overseeing
, Spectra and Loyalty practices. Earlier, he led the BASES and ACNielsen Analytic Consulting practices. Barns began his career at Procter & Gamble, where he spent 12 years in marketing research and brand management.
According to MediaPost, Barns is seen in some quarters as a potential heir to Nielsen CEO David Calhoun
, who last year added three years to his contract in exchange for a salary rise and a $6m signing bonus.
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