His last name is synonymous with television ratings – and Arthur C. Nielsen Jr. headed the A.C. Nielsen Company through many of its growth years and played a major role in moving it from radio ratings into TV ratings and consumer market research. He has died at age 92.
Under the junior Nielsen’s guidance, the company his father founded had grown at the time of his retirement at age 65 from a small enterprise to world leadership in five businesses with 22,000 employees and operations in 25 countries. A.C. Nielsen Jr. joined the company in 1945, became President in 1957 and Chairman in 1975. He retired in 1983 at age 65, as required by the company’s retirement policy, but became Chairman Emeritus and helped engineer the sale of the company to Dun & Bradstreet the next year for $1.3 billion.
One of the first people to grasp the commercial potential of the computer, Nielsen had the company invest in the first general-purpose computer, the UNIVAC, in 1948 and leadership in the use of computers was one of the keys to the company’s success.
Nielsen served on the boards of more than 20 major corporations, including Walgreens, Motorola and the Harris Bank.
The former executive died Monday (10/3) in Winnetka, IL, where he lived most of his life.