David Anderson Takes CFO Job at Nielsen

The finance veteran joins Nielsen as the media ratings firm faces pressure from activist investor Elliott Management to sell itself.
Matthew HellerSeptember 5, 2018

Media ratings firm Nielsen has named former Alexion Pharmaceuticals executive David J. Anderson as its new CFO as it faces a testing time amid activist pressure to sell itself.

Anderson replaces Jamere Jackson, who resigned Aug. 15 after four years at the company to take the CFO job at Hertz.

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Nielsen said in a news release Tuesday that Anderson “brings extensive experience as the CFO of multinational public companies,” most recently serving as finance chief at Alexion from December 2016 to August 2017. Before that, he was CFO of Honeywell, ITT Industries, and Newport News Shipbuilding.

“We are extremely pleased to have Dave join us, especially during this important time for the company,” James Attwood, executive chairman of Nielsen, said. “Dave’s deep financial expertise and strategic skills will enable him to make a strong and immediate contribution to Nielsen.”

David Anderson

According to The Wall Street Journal, Anderson is joining Nielsen “as the company navigates uncertain waters.” CEO Mitch Barns announced in July he would step down by the end of the year and the company has launched a strategic review of its “buy” business, which provides data on retail and consumer behavior.

Nielsen is also facing pressure to sell itself from activist investor Elliott Management, which has accumulated an 8.4% stake in the firm.

“Investors are generally frustrated with what has appeared to be Nielsen’s inability to monitor (or manage) warning signs in its businesses,” Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser wrote in a recent report.

Nielsen said Anderson “has helped develop and successfully implement strategies for growth and operational improvement in complex environments.” During his tenure at Honeywell from 2003 to 2014, the industrial conglomerate’s revenues nearly doubled to $40 billion and margins expanded 600 basis points.

Anderson also spent five years as a divisional CFO at RJR Nabisco, where he was heavily involved in the company’s cost reduction, M&A, and international expansion efforts.

“Dave’s skilled leadership will be a great addition to our management team,” Barns said. “In addition, his experience in a variety of industries will be of great support for the company.”