Taylor Nelson Sofres PLC
4 December 2000
Taylor Nelson Sofres succession plans
Taylor Nelson Sofres, a world leader in market information, today
announces forthcoming board changes.
Tony Cowling will step down as Group Chief Executive at the 2001 Annual
General Meeting when, on the recommendation of the Nomination Committee,
his re-election as Chairman will be proposed. With effect from the date
of that meeting, Mike Kirkham will take over as Group Chief Executive,
with full responsibility for the day-to-day running of the business. In
the meantime, he will take an increasing role in the management of the
group. Group Managing Director, Pierre Weill, will leave the Taylor
Nelson Sofres board at the 2001 AGM. It is also intended that he will
retire from his other executive duties later in that year but will
continue to be involved with the group on a consultancy basis.
Henri Wallard, Executive Director, has accepted a senior position outside
the group and will leave the Taylor Nelson Sofres board at the end of
December 2000. He will, however, continue to assist the group with the
completion of certain ongoing projects.
Commenting on these changes, Executive Chairman Tony Cowling, said:
'Pierre and I have previously indicated that we would want to reduce our
executive responsibilities at the age of 65, which we both reach next
year. After 12 years as Chief Executive, during which time the group has
seen considerable growth, I am pleased to be handing on the position to
Mike Kirkham, a very able successor, who has over 30 years experience in
'Pierre Weill has played an important part in ensuring the success of the
merger since Sofres joined the group in December 1997 and in the
development of the group's activities, particularly in the US. We are
very pleased that we will continue to benefit from his considerable
expertise on a consultancy basis and we thank him and Henri for their
'The changes announced today provide the opportunity for other executives
to join the Board in due course. Mike, Pierre and I will be working with
the Nomination Committee to recommend additional appointments later next
year from the team of talented management we have across the group.'
For further information, please contact:
Tony Cowling, Executive Chairman +44 (0)1372 803 403
Janis Parks, Investor Relations Manager +44 (0)20 8967 1584
Margaret George, Citigate Dewe Rogerson +44 (0)20 7638 9571
Email to: Janis.Parks@tnsofres.com
NOTE TO EDITORS
Tony Cowling, age 64, was a founder member of the Taylor Nelson group and
has worked in the company for its entire history. He played a key role
in building many of its specialist divisions and syndicated panel
services. In 1992, the company acquired the UK interests of AGB Research
from the Maxwell administration.
Taylor Nelson AGB and Sofres merged in December 1997 and Tony became
executive chairman of the enlarged group. He has been instrumental in
the successful growth of the business, which is currently the fourth
largest market information group in the world.
At the time of the announcement of the merger with Sofres in 1997, the
company s market capitalisation was £166 million in September 2000 it
reached over £1 billion.
Mike Kirkham, age 53, joined AGB Research in 1970 and took charge of
television research activities in the UK in 1976. He led the team that
developed the PeopleMeter (TM) television audience measurement system, which
is currently used to measure television audiences in 18 countries around
the world. Prior to joining the board of Taylor Nelson AGB in March
1992, he was Managing Director of AGB's UK operations.
Mike has extensive international experience, having had responsibility
for a number of the group's activities in Europe, North America and Asia.
In 1999, he was appointed head of the Taylor Nelson Sofres Sector
Executive Committee, responsible for growing the group's international
specialist sector activities. An Oxford graduate, Mike is married with
Through its international network in more than 45 countries, Taylor
Nelson Sofres provides market information services in over 80 countries
to national and multi-national organisations. It is ranked as the fourth
largest market information group in the world. Further information on
Taylor Nelson Sofres is available from the corporate website