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Meet our leadership team. With decades of entertainment technology experience, our leaders work closely with staff to drive innovation, operate the business and define our culture.

john batter

Karthik Rao

President

Karthik is the President of Gracenote responsible for leading the company’s Music, Video, Sports, Automotive and Technology businesses.

In his 16-year tenure at Nielsen, Karthik has held a variety of leadership roles spanning the U.S., Middle East and Asia for Nielsen’s Buy and Watch businesses. Most recently, he served President, Expanded Verticals, and led the teams serving advertiser and agency clients. Prior to that role, Karthik was Executive Vice President of Digital Enablement where he oversaw a global transformation program. He previously led Nielsen’s Media Analytics business, which delivers deep analytical insights that help media companies with their ad sales and programming activities.

As head of Nielsen China, Karthik oversaw the company’s initiatives towards China becoming one of the company’s fastest growing markets for Nielsen. Karthik began his career as an account executive at Ogilvy & Mather in India.

Karthik has a passion for talent development and serves as Nielsen’s co-Executive Sponsor for the Asian Americans Link (AAL) internal employee resource group. He holds a degree in Economics from Loyola University in Chennai and an MBA from Illinois State University.

richard cusick

Richard Cusick

Chief Product Officer

As Chief Product Officer, Rich is responsible for the development and delivery of Gracenote products worldwide. Previously, Rich was General Manager of Video for Gracenote and Tribune Media Services (TMS), which merged in 2014 following Tribune’s acquisition of Gracenote from Sony.

Prior to joining Gracenote, Rich was Vice President of Entertainment and Women’s Lifestyles at Yahoo! where he more than doubled original content and spearheaded the launch of new entertainment properties through partnerships with CBS.

Rich has served in a variety of general management, strategic planning and business development positions at Rovi Corporation, which acquired Gemstar-TV Guide. As SVP and General Manager of Digital Media, he increased annual online revenue by more than $20MM and grew traffic by 40 percent in two years.

Rich earned a BA in history from Harvard University, an MPhil from Cambridge University and a JD and MBA from The Ohio State University.

atul phadnis

Atul Phadnis

Chief Content Officer

As Chief Content Officer, Atul leads the company’s global content and editorial teams across Video, Music and Sports to develop global content strategies and expand on the company’s existing content and data offerings.

Previously, Atul founded and was CEO of What’s-ON, the largest video data provider for India and the Middle East, which was acquired by Gracenote in 2014. In this role, he successfully raised funding from Sequoia Capital and Intel Capital and helped the company achieve market leader status in Electronic Program Guides (EPG) and TV search.

Before launching What’s-ON, Atul served as Vice President for Television Audience Measurement (TAM) Media Research, a joint venture between Nielsen India and Kantar Media Research created to quantify TV viewership.

Atul currently sits on the TV Ratings Technical Committee for the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) in India.

steve scherf

Steve Scherf

Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer

As Gracenote’s Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Steve is responsible for leading the Gracenote engineering teams and developing scalable platforms and state-of-the-art technologies.

In 1995, Steve co-developed the Compact Disc Database (CDDB) to display information about the CDs being played. CDDB represented one of the first crowd-sourced services, relying on millions of users from around the globe to populate the database with music information. The CDDB service became the foundation of Gracenote and helped usher in Apple iTunes and the first iPod.

Prior to Gracenote, Steve led development teams at various Silicon Valley companies focusing on fault tolerance, performance and operating system development. He spent several years at Stratus Computer where he designed and developed disk I/O subsystems.

Steve received BS degrees in Math and Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz and is a World Technology Network fellow.

brian hamilton

Brian Hamilton

General Manager, Music and Auto

Brian is Senior Vice President and General Manager of Music and Auto for Gracenote. In this role, he is responsible for delivering next generation music and automotive infotainment systems and managing relationships with all major automakers, suppliers as well as music entertainment companies.

Brian has served in several leadership positions with Gracenote since joining the company in 2000. Most notably, he served as President of Gracenote Japan where he established the company’s APAC operations in Japan, Korea and Taiwan and spearheaded explosive growth of Gracenote’s Automotive business with major Asian OEMs.

Brian later assumed the role of SVP of Worldwide Sales and Marketing for Gracenote, where he grew annual revenue to $105MM and increased the sales pipeline by more than 200 percent across its Music, Video and Auto verticals.

Brian also played a critical role in Gracenote’s integration with Sony following the 2008 acquisition. He drove joint engineering projects with Sony to achieve new “first to market” features and enhanced performance for several Sony products and business groups.

simon adams

Simon Adams

General Manager, Video and Sports

Simon is General Manager of Gracenote Video and Sports where he is responsible for delivering next generation entertainment solutions for the world’s leading pay-TV and OTT providers, CE and media companies, and sports organizations.

Simon has more than 20 years of digital media experience across licensing, product, marketing and sales. Prior to Gracenote, Simon held a number of leadership positions at Rovi Corp. including Senior Vice President of Worldwide Licensing and Senior Vice President, Marketing and Sales.

Earlier in his career, Simon worked in general management, product and marketing roles for U.K. based subsidiaries of Thomson and Philips and Celestion. He also co-founded a mobile and fixed line communications start-up, Pathfinder Telecom.

Simon graduated with Honors from the City University, London with a BS degree in Electrical & Electronic Engineering. He also served on the Board of Directors for a joint venture between Rovi and Dentsu, the third largest advertising agency in the world based in Japan.

andy heinz

Jason Bolles

Managing Director, Video Personalization

Jason is Managing Director of Video Personalization for Gracenote responsible for setting the product vision and inspiring new products that leverage the company’s core media recognition and personalization technologies.

Previously, Jason was Vice President of Product Leadership for Nielsen. In this role, he was responsible for defining product strategies and roadmaps around content identification for Nielsen’s Total Audience Measurement, developing global partnerships, assessing acquisitions, and executing beta programs of early-stage Nielsen products and services.

Earlier in his career, Jason worked in Strategy and Corporate Development at Nielsen Audio where he led M&A activities, evaluated growth potential of new markets and supported the development of corporate strategic objectives.

Jason earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Gettysburg College.

patrick gildea

Debbie Morisie

VP, Global Human Resource Leader

Debbie leads Gracenote’s Global Human Resources efforts. In this role, she is responsible for spearheading Gracenote’s integration with Nielsen, and the implementation of global initiatives that support the company’s core values and culture, drive personal connections and celebrate its people.

Most recently, Debbie was Vice President of Human Resources at Nielsen where she led HR initiatives for the company’s Business Process Improvement and Global Integration and Excellence teams.

Previously, she was Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Scarborough Research, a market research company specializing in shopping patterns, media usage and lifestyle trends. After Scarborough and Arbitron were acquired by Nielsen 2013, Debbie took on the role of integration for the HR function.

She also serves on the board of the Emma Bowen Foundation and is an active member of the Nielsen Cares Global Council and Nielsen Sustainability Council.

ginger bushell

Ginger Bushell

Senior Vice President, Business Development and Strategy

Ginger is Senior Vice President and Head of Business Development and Strategy at Gracenote. She is responsible for driving strategic business deals and commercializing new business opportunities across the company.

Before joining Gracenote, Ginger served as Senior Vice President and Head of Business Development and Strategy at M-GO, a digital TV and movie streaming service that was a joint venture of DreamWorks Animation and Technicolor. She played an instrumental role in negotiating M-GO’s first studio content licensing deals and bringing both an integrated movie store and 4K streaming offering to the platform.

Prior to M-GO, Ginger worked in multiple senior leadership roles at Technicolor, including Chief of Staff of Global Sales, where she successfully helped cultivate relationships with cable operators and Hollywood studios. She also managed the company’s multi-billion dollar international sales operations function covering IP and ingredient technologies.

Ginger holds an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a BA from Colby College.

graham mckenna

Graham McKenna

Vice President, Marketing and Communications

Graham is Vice President, Marketing and Communications responsible for elevating the Gracenote brand and overseeing all internal and external communications across business verticals.

Graham joined the company in 2010 under Sony’s ownership. He has shepherded the Gracenote brand through its acquisitions by Tribune Media and Nielsen, as well as its seven acquisitions and the launch of its Sports business.

Before Gracenote, Graham ran communications at THX Ltd., the entertainment technology and certification company founded by George Lucas. There, he led all partner-marketing efforts with major consumer electronics and automotive manufacturers, including LG, TiVo and Ford. Graham worked closely with the Ford team to launch the Ford Sync platform, which revolutionized automotive infotainment.

Earlier in his career, Graham held positions at Bay Area advertising and PR agencies where he served as communications and creative copywriting lead for start-ups and established companies ranging from Samsung and NetGear to SkyGo and TSMC. His creative work has won numerous industry awards, including national and local Addys and Summit Awards.

sal karottke

Sal Karottki

Vice President, Legal

Sal is Vice President, Legal responsible for heading up Gracenote’s legal team and providing counsel on a range of matters including intellectual property, privacy and data security, worldwide M&A, commercial transactions and corporate compliance. Sal played an instrumental role in ushering through Nielsen’s 2017 purchase of Gracenote from Tribune Media. Prior to that, he spearheaded legal activities and due diligence around Gracenote’s acquisitions of What’s-ON, Baseline, HWW, Enswers, SportsDirect and Infostrada Sports.

He spent more than a decade at Tribune Media serving as Chief Intellectual Property Counsel. In this role, he oversaw Tribune’s broad IP portfolio and led all corporate acquisition and litigation-related matters. Prior to Tribune Media, Sal was an Associate at the Chicago-based law firm Goldberg Kohn Ltd., which specializes in intellectual property and business litigation. Before that, he was an Associate at Sidley Austin.

Sal earned his JD from the Duke University School of Law. He is also a patent attorney registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.