Nielsen said Ms. Whiting would take on an expanded role and would join an "Office of the Chief Executive Officer," working with Chairman-CEO David Calhoun. Among Ms. Whiting's top responsibilities will be working directly with major clients. Nielsen counts the world's top media companies and advertisers as its customers.
Ms. Whiting will "focus on our most critical relationships with clients at a time when they are looking for the unique insight into consumer behavior," said Mr. Calhoun in a statement.
The promotion emphasizes Nielsen's biggest challenge. The company has long been a tabulator of mass audiences, telling advertisers and media outlets how many people their ads and programs reached. These days, however, the push is on to produce more qualitative data -- who in an audience saw and reacted to an ad, and lacing reach-and-frequency measures with some behavioral information.
"This appointment is part of our plan to integrate Nielsen's resources in a way that delivers even more value for our clients. Nielsen is singularly positioned to provide a complete understanding of consumer activity, media consumption and the relationship between the two. Susan will work directly with our key clients to develop the integrated suite of Nielsen products they need to grow their businesses," Mr. Calhoun added.
Under Ms. Whiting's direction, Nielsen has moved to begin tabulating viewers who watch TV in new venues, including bars and other out-of-home areas, as well as people who watch TV and use the web concurrently. Her move into the company's top office underscores the idea that keeping clients happy and updated as Nielsen continues to transform itself will be of paramount importance.
Ms. Whiting joined Nielsen Media Research in 1978 and since then has worked in every aspect of the business. In 2007, she was appointed chairman of Nielsen Media Research and Nielsen Company exec VP with marketing and product leadership responsibilities for all Nielsen business units.