Mandel Exits NielsenConnect

NEW YORK Jon Mandel, CEO of NielsenConnect, has left the company.

NielsenConnect, a business unit of Adweek parent the Nielsen Co., was formed two years ago to create new services, drawing on information from the dozens of Nielsen units that collect, analyze and report on consumer patterns and usage around the world and provide that information in new and unique ways to clients.

NielsenConnect will also be shuttered as a formal entity after creating several new businesses. “I said I would give them two years and they said they wanted me to do it for two years and then we would figure out” where to go from there, Mandel said. As it turned out, he said, “the kinds of things they have [to potentially move to] by definition are not what my strengths are.”

A Nielsen representative confirmed that NielsenConnect “has run its course,” after developing some “hits and misses, and the hits are being transitioned into businesses.” The rep added that “the principles upon which NielsenConnect were founded are now a part of our entire company and we’re focused on them every day.” Or as Mandel put it, “Nielsen found that it could connect.”

Mandel cited several highlights, including the development of Nielsen InStore. “We pulled off the largest new data [provider] that approached something that was never done before.” Nielsen has put InStore service on hold for now, due to the recession, although some of the work is available on a custom basis for Nielsen clients who request it.

Mandel also cited NielsenConnections, a new offering that ties together retail purchases with media as another highlight of his tenure, and some newly created industry related services as well. “None of those things had been done before,” he said.

Mandel confirmed his departure, which he described as mutual, became effective last week. He said he is considering several new opportunities and expects to make a decision within the next month to six weeks.

Prior to Nielsen, Mandel was chief of strategic solutions at WPP Group’s GroupM. Before that, he was instrumental in building Grey’s MediaCom in the U.S. After WPP acquired Grey in 2005, MediaCom was folded into GroupM, which oversees all of the company’s media agencies, including Mediaedge:cia and Mindshare. After stints at General Foods and Procter & Gamble, Mandel joined Grey in 1977 and helped start the network TV buying group at the agency. He rose to svp, director of national broadcast.

When MediaCom was formed, Mandel was named chief negotiating officer. Subsequent roles included co-managing director, co-CEO and chief global buying officer of MediaCom Worldwide, in addition to his role as chairman of MediaCom’s U.S. operations.