Karthik Rao was named Chief Executive Officer of Nielsen, the global leader in audience measurement, data and analytics, in September, 2023.
Prior to being named CEO, Rao, a 23-year veteran of Nielsen, held a variety of leadership roles across the company and around the world. Most recently, he served as Chief Executive Officer of Nielsen Audience Measurement, responsible for driving and evolving Nielsen’s core business in the midst of unprecedented disruption and transition. His primary focus was on enabling a currency across all media distribution and consumption models globally.
Rao was named Nielsen’s Chief Operating Officer in 2020, where he oversaw a global product-driven technology transformation. Prior to that, he served as Chief Product & Technology Officer for Nielsen Global Media, where he led the International Media product and technology teams. He also served as CEO of Nielsen Portfolio, leading the fully independent division, comprising Nielsen Entertainment, Nielsen Gracenote, Nielsen Brandbank and the Nielsen Telecom businesses across all global markets. He led Gracenote during its acquisition and integration by Nielsen, which included building Gracenote’s management team, aligning its strategy, and driving growth across key markets and segments.
In his earliest days at Nielsen, Rao held roles in a variety of divisions, including Expanded Verticals, Digital Enablement, and Nielsen’s Media Analytics business. As head of Nielsen China, he led one of the company’s fastest growing global markets.
Rao began his career as an account executive at Ogilvy & Mather in India. He serves on the Board of Directors of Avantax, a comprehensive financial services company. Rao holds a degree in Economics from Loyola University in Chennai and an MBA from Illinois State University.