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Nielsen Names Barns as New CEO

David Calhoun to become executive chairman

There’s a change at the top for Nielsen.

Nielsen Holdings N.V. says Mitch Barns will succeed David Calhoun as chief executive officer effective Jan. 1, 2014.

As president of Nielsen’s president of Global Client Service, Barns spent the last 16 years leading its core businesses globally, regionally and in the U.S.

Calhoun has been Nielsen’s chief executive officer since joining the company in 2006 after a 26-year career with General Electric. He oversaw the transformation of Nielsen from a private company to a publicly traded corporation.

Calhoun said Nielsen is “successfully implementing its global strategy,” and the time is right to make the leadership change to take the company to its next growth phase.

With the change, Calhoun becomes executive chairman of the board while current chairman James Kilts, steps down as chair but remains on the board, according to the firm. Calhoun remains a “substantial” owner of Nielsen equity purchased and earned him while CEO, according to the firm.