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Dun & Bradstreet last week dissolved Nielsen North America and removed David J.S. Flaschen from his post as president and chief operating officer, propelled by the unit's consistently weak results.

Christos M. Cotsakos, former president-CEO of the more profitable Nielsen International, becomes president of A.C. Nielsen Co., overseeing the market research unit's three key regions: the Americas, Europe and Asia. Mr. Cotsakos will continue to be based in Brussels.

The move leaves the company's North American operations without a top officer, although industry insiders close to Nielsen say the company soon will assign three executives to run each of the geographic regions. Todd Bradley, currently senior VP-regional director of the European, Middle Eastern and African business, reportedly will be given increased responsibility over that sector.

Bob McCann, exec VP-managing director of Nielsen's Kraft business, may be poised to inherit the U.S. unit, insiders say. Mr. McCann moved to Nielsen late last year from rival Information Resources Inc.

A Nielsen spokesman was unable to specify Mr. Flaschen's new duties, stating only that he will work on a new business venture with Robert Weissman, Dun & Bradstreet president-CEO.

Analysts and industry observers said Dun & Bradstreet was disappointed with the delayed rollout of Nielsen North America's Solution System product, led by Mr. Flaschen. The former IMS executive moved to Nielsen in late 1993, when the market researcher was crippled by a series of client and executive defections.

He did manage to stem client erosion, mostly by waging a pricing war with IRI. Nielsen North American lost $50 million in 1994, according to one analyst.

Robert J. Lievense, named exec VP of Dun & Bradstreet and chairman of A.C. Nielsen last month, orchestrated the shuffle, stating that Nielsen's multinational clients require a seamlessly global market research provider.

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