Data and insights consultancy Kantar has appointed its third chief executive just over a year, hiring former AA, British Gas and British Airways boss Chris Jansen to take up the role vacated by Alexis Nasard who left “by mutual agreement” in April.
Nasard, who only joined the business last December from shoe maker Bata Corporation, was himself brought in to succeed Eric Salama, who left the company he helped to build into a $4bn (£3.19bn) business in February 2020.
Kantar insists Jansen has more than 20 years’ leadership experience in the services sector; from brand building to service delivery transformation, alongside a background in classic consumer marketing, and an established track record of managing private equity-owned businesses.
The latter will be crucial as private-equity firm Bain Capital bought a 60% stake in Kantar from WPP two years ago, in a deal which valued the business at $4bn (£3.19bn). The sell-off had been flagged up the previous year, as part of WPP boss Mark Read’s strategy to slash debt.
Jansen is currently the CEO of Cognita which, over his six-year tenure, has rapidly grown into what it is claimed is one of the largest, and most highly regarded global schools groups.
Prior to that, Jansen led the AA to a stock market flotation in 2014, and has held leadership roles, and board positions at both British Gas and BA, having started his career at Procter & Gamble.
Kantar chairman Adam Crozier, the former Saatchi & Saatchi, FA, Royal Mail and ITV chief, said Jansen’s track record of building companies, as well as his entrepreneurial and competitive spirit, further strengthens the leadership team the firm has been building over the past 18 months.
He added: “Chris is a highly people-centric leader who understands the importance a strong culture plays in delivering outstanding results. As we continue on our transformation journey at Kantar, and build on our recent business momentum, Chris’ leadership will be instrumental in fulfilling the ambition that we have for Kantar.”
Jansen commented: “Kantar is rightly regarded as a world leader in data and insights led consultancy and has an outstanding reputation with its clients. This is a result of having outstanding people, and I am really looking forward to working very closely with the Kantar team.
“We have an exciting future ahead, as we continue to embrace advanced analytics and the latest technology in order to better serve our clients.”
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