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Comscore Leaders Quit Over 'Irreconcilable Differences'

April 1 2019

Chief Executive Bryan Wiener and President Sarah Hofstetter are leaving audience measurement company Comscore due to 'irreconcilable differences over how to execute the company's strategy'.

Bryan WienerWiener was originally given a seat on the Comscore Board in September 2017 as part of the firm's settlement agreement with one of its largest shareholders Starboard Value, fending off a lawsuit. His promotion to CEO, replacing retiring co-founder Gian Fulgoni, was announced in April last year. Wiener was Executive Chairman of data-driven ad agency 360i, part of Dentsu, prior to taking up the CEO role. 360i CEO and Chairwoman Hofstetter was brought in in September / October as Comscore President, having worked with Wiener for eighteen years previously.

During Wiener's brief tenure, Comscore appeared to be settling somewhat after a stormy three years - resuming its listing on the Nasdaq stock market in June, after seventeen months' suspension pending investigation of accounting irregularities; and announcing revenue growth of 3.9% to $419.5m in annual results announced a month ago. His departure however comes with a forecast of what appear to be somewhat disappointing results for Q1 of this year - the company estimates revenue in the range $100 to $104m, down from $105.9m in the first quarter of last year.

In an emailed statement quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Wiener said 'I ultimately chose to leave as the Board and I had irreconcilable differences over how to execute the company's strategy. I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished in such a short period of time, and believe the company is strategically positioned to continue to take advantage of the rapidly evolving media marketplace with a core focus on advanced TV, and I wish its loyal employees, clients and investors well'. Hofstetter linked her decision to resign to alignment with Wiener's approach to strategy.

The company has declined to reply to Wiener's comments, although it noted his departure and thanked him for his work while announcing three new appointments to the Board: Irwin Gotlieb, Joanne Bradford and Kathi Love; and the appointment of Dale Fuller as interim CEO - all effective today. Gotlieb is a 40-year industry veteran, most recently a senior advisor to WPP and formerly Global CEO and Chairman of GroupM. Bradford is CMO of Social Finance, Inc. (SoFi) and previously held senior roles at Pinterest, Yahoo!, Microsoft and BusinessWeek. Love is the former CEO of GfK MRI, a role she held for thirteen years, and founded consulting and executive coaching firm Motherwell Resources LLC - her previous leadership roles include EMAP Petersen USA and the New York Times.

Fuller has been a Director of Comscore since March 2018 and became Chair of its audit committee a month later. His senior level experience includes work at Apple, McAfee and Symantec.

CorpBoard Chairman Brent Rosenthal said: 'We believe today's appointments will serve to credentialize our strategy, improve our customer traction, accelerate our growth and drive long-term shareholder value. Dale, together with the board, has made meaningful contributions to our operating strategy. As Dale works more closely with our dedicated employees and board, we believe he will optimize our operations and accelerate our path to profitability'.

The company has begun a search to find a permanent CEO, but says it will not replace the President's role at this time. Q1 results should be announced in early May.

Web site: www.comscore.com .

All articles 2006-19 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas.

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