Arbitron Names Lindner Chief Research Officer

Following months of searching, Arbitron has finally found a chief research officer. The radio research firm announced Wednesday that Greg Lindner, evp of Scarborough Research and a former Arbitron exec, will rejoin Arbitron in the new position of chief research officer and evp of service innovation by the end of the year.

Lindner will stay on at Scarborough, a joint venture of Nielsen and Arbitron, until Scarborough finds a new president and CEO. Robert Cohen, the current Scarborough president and CEO has been on medical leave since Nov. 2009 and will not return in a full-time capacity. In his absence, Lindner has been handling day-to-day operations.

Arbitron has been operating without top research firepower for more than a year, making do with its middle management team of researchers. Both Owen Charlebois, former president of technology, research and development and Bob Patchen, chief research officer, exited in 2009 under former Arbitron CEO Michael Skarzynski, the CEO blown out of the company a year later for lying to Congress.

Lindner’s new position at Arbitron combines the positions formerly held by both Charlebois and Patchen. Lindner will be responsible for Arbitron’s research quality and methods for both the diary service and the portable people meter service, and developing new services, including cross-platform.

No doubt one of the initiatives at the top of Lindner’s list will be Arbitron’s quest to achieve Media Rating Council accreditation for the portable people meter service. Since Arbitron began rolling out the PPM in 2007, the firm has only managed to achieve accreditation in three markets.

Another top priority will be developing a cross-platform service using the PPM to measure multiple media, an initiative where Arbitron has had only limited success with a handful of custom projects.

“Gregg is expected to help Arbitron strengthen the quality and sophistication of our core radio audience measurement services and to lead the development of the research methods and systems for our emerging cross-platform media and marketing measurement services,” said Bill Kerr, president and CEO of Arbitron, to whom Lindner will report.

A 25-year research exec, Lindner also held research positions with Simmons Market Research (now a division of Experian). His last stint at Arbitron was from 1981 to 1992.