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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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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.

simon adams

Simon Adams

Chief Product Officer

Simon is Chief Product Officer of Gracenote where he is responsible for delivering next generation entertainment solutions for the world’s leading pay-TV and OTT providers, CE and media companies, sports organizations, DSP’s and auto manufacturers.

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.

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.