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Nielsen CFO Speaks During Business Lecture
Thursday, October 18, 2012
By Lexi Palma '13
The Nielsen Company Chief Financial Officer Brian West ’91 spoke to a full house inside the Key Auditorium this week during the latest installment of the School of Business Lecture Series. West, who also oversees Nielsen Expositions, delivered an address titled “Private Equity's Role in Capital Formation and Globalization: How The Emerging Middle Class Will Drive Global Demand." Students also had the opportunity to ask West about a typical day in his life as a CFO and what challenges Nielsen is facing due to the rise in popularity of mobile devices.
“We are thrilled to have him here,” said Jeffrey Mello, Ph.D., school of business dean.
In his lecture, West talked about the history of Nielsen and the company’s goals. West said Nielsen was created in 1923 and now provides clients in more than 100 countries with a complete view of what consumers watch and buy. West said Nielsen has partnerships with major companies, including CBS and Nestle, both of whom they’ve worked with for more than 50 years.
West talked about how his career path led him to Nielsen and that it wasn’t something he was expecting. “I relish and cherish that chance was taken on me,” West said. “You don’t know what it’ll look like, but that opportunity is out there for you." In order to make the most out of those opportunities, West said people have to be willing to take the risk.
West encouraged students to follow the things they are passionate about. “You need success and significance,” West said. “Or any success you have is fleeting. Know what you want and what you want to be and never lose sight of that.”
Before becoming Nielsen CFO in 2007, the Siena graduate worked at The General Electric Company for 16 years. While at GE, West held a number of finance roles with increasing responsibility, including CFO of NBC's TV Stations Division, CFO of GE Engine Services, and Chief Financial Officer – GE Aviation, a $12 billion global business. West's General Electric career began at GE Plastics as part of the Financial Management Program in 1991.
The School of Business Lecture Series continues on Monday, November 12 at 12:30 p.m. in the Key Auditorium. Dunkin Donuts Owner Thomas Burke will be the keynote speaker.
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