Nielsen CEO to leave at year-end

Nielsen Holdings PLC Chief Executive Mitch Barns is retiring at the end of the year, the company said Thursday.

Nielsen also said Chairman James Attwood, a managing director at Carlyle Group LP, will lead the board’s search for a new CEO. The company, which plans to start the search immediately, also named Mr. Attwood as executive chairman.

Mr. Barns started at the company in 1997 and became CEO in 2014. He was previously president of the company’s U.S. media business and its greater China business.

Shares of Nielsen, down 19% this year, fell 13% premarket after the company lowered some of its annual financial targets and announced it would launch a strategic review of its "buy" business, or the part of the company that provides data on retail and consumer behavior.

Nielsen expects revenue to fall 1% this year, down from its prior forecast of 3% growth. The company now expects to earn between 95 cents a share and $1 a share, down from between $1.50 a share and $1.56 a share.

For the quarter that ended June 30, revenue was roughly flat from a year earlier at $1.65 billion. Revenue from the company’s buy division declined 4.1% while revenue at Nielsen’s watch division — which does analytics related to media audiences — rose 4.5%.

Nielsen’s profit fell 45% to $72 million, or 20 cents a share.

In prepared remarks Thursday, Chief Financial Officer Jamere Jackson called the company’s earnings results "disappointing."

Write to Allison Prang at [email protected]

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