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Nielsen CEO Kenny Got $19.8M in Compensation

Nielsen, which is under pressure from shareholders and conducting a strategic review that could lead to the sale of some or all of its businesses, paid its new CEO David Kenny more than $19.8 million last year.

Mitch Barns, who resigned from the CEO post, got total compensation of $10.785 million in 2018.

In a proxy statement released today, Nielsen called 2018 “a challenging year.” that resulted top executive getting zero in their long term performance based compensation because shareholder return and free cash flow did not reach required thresholds.

Related: Nielsen Names David Kenny as New Chief Executive

“Given 2018’s business difficulties and in light of the turnover at the executive level, in September the Compensation Committee decided to launch a targeted special pay program aimed at retaining critical leaders responsible for strategy development, delivering the revised 2018 financial targets and continuing the transformation of the Company over the next three years,” the proxy statement said.

The awards are based in part on a “challenging” stock price growth hurdle of 25%.

New CEO Kenny compensation package for 2019 includes a base salary of $1.3 million, annual incentive pay of $1.925 million and a long-term incentive of $7 million.

To get him to join Nielsen, Kenny got $17 million to cover benefits he would have gotten if he’d stayed at IBM, pulls $4.486 million in inducement, including options to purchase shares.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.