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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.

Karthik Rao

Karthik Rao


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.

amilcar perez

Amilcar Perez

Chief Revenue Officer

Amilcar is Chief Revenue Officer of Gracenote responsible for collaborating with the company’s sales, marketing and product organizations to drive revenue and strategic sales opportunities across all business verticals and maximize value for Gracenote’s global customer base.

Prior to joining the Gracenote team, Amilcar held several leadership positions at Nielsen.  Most recently, he was Global Managing Director of Nielsen Tech/Telecom and Senior Vice President of Nielsen’s Global Telecom Product Leadership responsible for setting the strategic direction for the Telecom vertical and developing of products and solutions for telco, mobile and media companies.

Amilcar also served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing and Client and Retailer Relationships in Latin America for Nielsen’s Buy business.  Amilcar received recognition for his exemplary leadership abilities with the Nielsen Chairman Leadership award in 2009 and 2017.

Amilcar earned a Postgraduate degree in Telecom Business from the Universidad de San Andres, an MBA from Escuela Superior de Economia y Administracion de Empresas (ESEADE) and a Bachelor degree from University of Buenos Aires.

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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.

Until recently, Atul actively served on the TV Ratings Technical Committee for the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) in India.

steve scherf

Kay Johansson

Chief Technology Officer

Kay is Chief Technology Officer of Gracenote responsible for setting the strategic priorities of the company’s technology and engineering organizations which support its Music, Video, Sports, Personalization and Auto verticals around the world.

Prior to joining Gracenote, Kay served as Chief Architect for TiVo, formerly Rovi Corporation. There, he oversaw definition and deployment of the company’s cloud services product and platform.

Earlier in his career, Kay was Chief Technology Officer of MobiTV where he lead all technology and product strategy efforts and successfully scaled the online video platform’s capabilities to serve 25 million subscribers.

Kay is named on more than 25 published and pending patents relating to streaming and bandwidth adaptation techniques and media delivery solutions.

steve scherf

Steve Scherf

Chief of R&D

As Gracenote’s Chief of R&D, Steve is responsible for leading all of Gracenote’s research and development efforts, which includes advancing the company’s machine learning and audio and video fingerprinting technologies to drive innovation.

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 BS degree in Economics from Gettysburg College.

patrick gildea

Shannon Buggy

Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Nielsen Portfolio

As SVP of Human Resources for Nielsen Portfolio, Shannon leads HR strategy across Nielsen Entertainment, Gracenote and Brandbank. In this role, Shannon is responsible for creating and integrating change initiatives and large scale talent strategies for more than 4,000 associates.

With 25 years of experience, Shannon has a proven track record of leading and managing global human resources teams and driving excellence in talent acquisition, development, retention, employee relations, compensation, benefits, talent management and labor relations.

Prior to joining Nielsen, Shannon was the Executive Director, Head of Talent Strategy & Business Partnership at a global pharmaceutical company where she led the talent business partner team, a merging of the company’s talent specialists and HR business partners. Earlier, Shannon was Senior Vice President and Global Chief Human Resources Officer at a market-leading, global background check company responsible for global human capital and talent strategies for the company’s ten office locations.

Shannon holds a certification as a Senior Professional in Human Resources from the HR Certification Institute. She graduated magna cum laude with a BS degree in Human Resources Management from the Pace University, Lubin School of Business.

ashwath bhat

Ashwath Bhat

Senior Vice President, Finance

Ashwath oversees all finance and accounting functions across the company’s five business verticals and manages its globally distributed teams.

Prior to joining Gracenote, Ashwath served as Vice President, Financial Planning and Analysis in Global Finance for Nielsen. In this role, he was responsible for managing quarterly forecasting, setting operating plans for business units and external reporting.

Earlier, Ashwath served as the Finance Leader for Nielsen’s Africa and Middle East divisions where he focused on driving profitable growth across 25+ countries in the Middle East and Africa and was responsible for controllership and compliance.

Ashwath started his career in GE’s Finance Leadership Program and held several finance leadership roles in GE Healthcare South Asia and IBM South Asia.

Ashwath is a Chartered Accountant from India.

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

Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications

Graham is Senior 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

Deborah Mason

Associate General Counsel

As Associate General Counsel and Lead Counsel for Nielsen Portfolio, Deb manages the legal teams and operations for Nielsen Entertainment, Gracenote and Brandbank. In this role, she is responsible for providing counsel on a wide range of matters including M&A, commercial transactions, integrity and corporate compliance, privacy and data security. Most recently, Deb served as Lead Counsel for Gracenote and was a member of Nielsen’s Buy legal team.

Prior to joining Nielsen, Deb served as Vice President and Associate General Counsel with GfK where she led a wide range of commercial, strategic, and compliance-related legal matters and was responsible for establishing and managing all legal strategy and processes for all North American subsidiaries of GfK SE. Previously, Deb was an Associate at Ropes & Gray, a Boston-based law firm specializing in M&A transactions, serving as a member of the Private Equity group.

Deb earned her JD from Case Western Reserve University School of Law and BA from The Ohio State University.