Magazine: Nielsen’s new CEO interviewed: ‘Brave retailers took risks’

By: Tisza Andrea Date: 2019. 03. 18. 07:52

David Kenny was appointed the CEO of Nielsen last November. He gave one of his first interviews to a Canadian FMCG retail trade magazine, Canadian Grocer.

–The face of retail is changing, but as for grocery retail, it is going in the multichannel direction a bit slower. What do you think was the most important event in FMCG retail last year?

David Kenny

I am very much for speed if it means going in a planned direction. Last year FMCG retailers took certain risks to adopt new technologies. With this they questioned the status quo and changed so many things that the sector was left shaken. Finally they managed to gain momentum, and the future of retail is likely to be shaped by more technology and artificial intelligence (AI).

– Which will be the 3-4 main areas that can transform FMCG retail in 2019?

– AI-driven data strategy will be one of these, together with machine learning. FMCG retailers can become more successful if they get a better insight into how consumers are thinking, with the help of data. But let’s not forget that consumers have never been more prepared, curious and worrisome about who gets and uses their data. Because of this I firmly believe that with this large quantity of data we also take up great responsibility.

– In the past you worked in executive position at technology companies like IBM. Based on the experiences you acquired there, how can you help transform Nielsen from a market research company to a technology company that uses top AI technology?

– As the co-founder, president and CEO of digital marketing agency Digitas, I have always admired Nielsen. When I worked for IBM, as senior vice president of cognitive solutions I contributed to developing IBM Watson and managed the company’s cloud computing-based IT system too. I managed to get first-hand experience in machine learning and artificial intelligence technology usage. I think Nielsen’s place is at the point where marketing data and technology meet. //

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