David Calhoun, a 27-year veteran and executive at General Electric Company, has been named chairman of the executive board and CEO of VNU, the company’s supervisory board announced Wednesday. Rob Ruijter, who has served as interim CEO since mid-June, will return to his original position of chief financial officer.
Calhoun has most recently been vice chairman of GE and president and CEO, GE Infrastructure, where he was responsible for the company’s aviation, energy, oil and gas, transportation, and water units – businesses that are expected to generate $47 billion in 2006, according to the release.
Calhoun takes the reigns after a drawn-out sales process that was revived last January with an $8 billion bid from Valcon Acquisition B.V., a consortium of private equity firms made up of AlpInvest Partners, The Blackstone Group, The Carlyle Group, Hellman & Freidman, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., and Thomas H. Lee Partners. The six months of negotiations came complete with shareholder dissent and the resignation of CEO Rob van den Bergh. The final sale price in June was $9.7 billion.
In other VNU news, VNU Business Media, the U.S. arm of Netherlands-based VNU, today announced it is launching Contract China, a monthly publication focused on commercial interior design and architecture. The venture is being launched through though VNU’s Asian operation, Business Media Asia. It is VNU’s first Asian publication, said publicist Lori Rosen, speaking on behalf of VNU Business.
Contract China is a brand extension of U.S.-based Contract magazine. Launching this week, the bi-monthly magazine boasts a circulation of 17,500 and will be sent to pre-qualified names from large national and regional architectural and design institutions. The publication also will be distributed to key personnel in the global Fortune 500 corporations operating in China and the Fortune Top 100 Chinese companies.
American Business Media has been encouraging its business media members, one of which is VNU Business, to pursue opportunities in China. ABC will host an invitation-only trip to the country this fall for executives from the association’s largest member companies. ABM Chairman Michael Marchesano was, until recently, CEO of VNU Business Media. He is now executive vice president and chief transformation officer of the VNU’s Project Forward, a three-year program designed to reduce costs, enhance margins and more effectively leverage VNU’s resources to improve its competitive position and fund future growth.