As it prepares to separate into two publicly traded companies, Nielsen has recruited a pair of seasoned execs to serve in top roles. David Rawlinson, President of the Global Online Business at Grainger, will become CEO of Nielsen’s Global Connect business when it’s spun off as a newly created public company. Nielsen Global Connect tracks consumer purchases. More significantly for radio, Linda Zukauckas will join Nielsen as Chief Financial Officer and remain with the Global Media business following the break-up.
Both execs start in their roles Feb. 3. Their arrivals follow the Dec. 31, 2019 departure of Nielsen Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer Dave Anderson.
In a statement, Nielsen CEO David Kenny said both execs “bring a wealth of relevant and valuable experience to Nielsen. Both will have a great deal of impact on the current company and will have significant roles in the new companies moving forward.” Kenny will continue as CEO of Nielsen’s Global Media business following the split.
Rawlinson, 43, already sits on the Nielsen board. He’s currently the President of the Global Online Business at Grainger, which supplies maintenance, repair and operating products for businesses and institutions. Nielsen says Rawlinson’s experience running a digital business-to-business company will be helpful as he works with the company to help retailers navigate an increasingly digital future. “Nielsen Global Connect has made tremendous progress in strengthening its operations and competitive position, and I believe that we can build upon this and further enhance our leadership position,” said Rawlinson.
Zukauckas has been with American Express since 2011, most recently as Executive VP and Deputy Chief Financial Officer. When the two Nielsen business units are broken apart, she will remain as CFO of the Global Media business, which includes TV, radio and digital media measurement services.
Zukauckas said that the “recent clarity regarding Nielsen’s path forward” influenced her decision. “Nielsen’s improved operating performance is a testament to leadership’s focus on delivering results while continuing to invest in products that provide valuable insights to Nielsen clients,” said Zukauckas.
Rawlinson will be paid an annual base salary of $900,000, which will bump up to $1 million on Jan. 1, 2021 or when the Connect business is spun off. He’s eligible for an annual incentive bonus of $1.25 million for 2020 and $1.5 billion in 2021. He also could get $3.6 million in performance-based restricted stock units.
Zukauckas, 58, will receive $800,000 in annual salary with an incentive bonus of $900,000 and $1.65 million in performance-based restricted stock units. She’ll also get $1 million to compensate her for the loss of her annual bonus at American Express for leaving the company early.