More Optimism Here Than in Developed World

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New Delhi: David Calhoun, chief executive officer of leading global information and measurement company Nielsen Holdings NV, believes overseas clients could learn from the innovations of Indian marketers for bottom-of-the-pyramid consumers.

The former vice-chairman of General Electric Co. (GE), who surprised many when he moved to Nielsen in 2006, was in India to attend a consumer summit organized by the research firm. Nielsen, owned by a group of private equity firms, including Blackstone Group LP?, Carlyle Group?, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co., and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP, was listed on the New York Stock Exchange this year.

Calhoun said in an interview that Nielsen is focusing on emerging markets, with India and China getting the lion’s share of the investments. Edited excerpts:

You have completed five years at Nielsen. What have been the big changes during your tenure?

I just started my sixth year at Nielsen. I wanted to simplify the way we talk about our company. Five years ago, we had lots of different companies within Nielsen, different product names and brands that we tried to promote. If you ever went home and described to your children what you did, it would be very difficult. The notion was to describe it as a company that’s built on information collected in a systemic way. We said we will do it around two fundamental consumer acts: the act of buying and the act of watching (television).

Watch Video

Nielsen’s David Calhoun talks about the effect of consumption patterns of consumers and his plans for investing in the emerging markets

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