Promotions, Exits At VNU/Nielsen Restructuring

VNU, the New York- and Haarlem- (as in Netherlands) based company that counts Nielsen Media Research and media trade magazines among its holdings, is scrapping its group organizational structure as part of a strategic plan to become "more successful and efficient," with the ACNielsen COO and marketing information group heads out in the shuffle.

Nielsen president and CEO Susan Whiting becomes chairman of the ratings company as well as executive VP of a new unit comprising not only research and development but product development and marketing. She reports directly to VNU's new David Calhoun.

The official restructuring announcement follows staff cuts across its various operations as a part of a planned 10% cut by the end of 2007, which the company says it will reinvest in a new Nielsen Media Research plan for rating digital media and personal video service, as well as better tools to measure the intersection of marketing and communications.

In essence, the company says, it is simplifying its structure to make it better able to adapt and respond to an increasingly complicated media universe.

The five presidents of ACNielsen's five geographic regions will now report to Calhoun as the company phases out its. John Lewis, who has been president of ACNielsen U.S. will expand his territory to all of North America. Pat Dodd takes over as president of ACNielsen Europe.

Staying put are Arturo Garcia Castro, president ACNielsen Latin America; Nonoy Niles, ACNielsen Asia Pacific; and Lennart Bengtsson, ACNielsen Easter Europe, Middle East and Africa.

The creation of that new unit means the shuttering of the marketing information group and the exit if its president/CEO, Steve Schmidt.

VNU is also centralizing its IT operations.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.