Calhoun will oversee a team of 21 professionals within the portfolio operations group which partners with portfolio company CEOs to drive key value creation initiatives throughout our companies. Calhoun will work within Blackstone’s Private Equity business reporting to the Global Head of Private Equity, Joseph Baratta, and will also be involved with important strategic initiatives of the firm as a member of Blackstone’s Management and Executive Committees. Calhoun brings to Blackstone more than thirty years of public company leadership and global operational experience.
Calhoun joined Nielsen in 2006, shortly after the company was acquired by a consortium of private equity investors including Blackstone. Calhoun led the transformation of the company into a leading marketing information services company in the world. Under Calhoun’s leadership, Nielsen’s operating income improved from $0.8bn at the time of the acquisition to $1.7bn in 2012 with a compound annual growth rate of 13%. He serves on the Board of Nielsen and will become Executive Chairman in January 2014. He also sits on the Boards of Directors of The Boeing Company and Caterpillar. He is the co-author with Rick Kash of the book 'How Companies Win'. Calhoun graduated from Virginia Tech in 1979.
Before joining Nielsen, Calhoun served as Vice Chairman of The General Electric Company and President and Chief Executive Officer of GE Infrastructure, the company’s largest business unit. During his twenty-six-year tenure at GE, Calhoun ran multiple business units, including GE Lighting, GE Employers Reinsurance Co., GE Aircraft Engines, and GE Transportation. Additionally, he held multiple operating, finance and marketing roles across the company.
Stephen Schwarzman, Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of Blackstone, said, 'We are delighted to be able to work more closely with Dave Calhoun, as he joins our team at Blackstone. He is one of the most talented CEOs we have ever worked with. We are excited to have him help guide our portfolio company operations as well as the strategic development of Blackstone itself'.
Joe Baratta, Senior Managing Director and Global Head of Blackstone’s Private Equity business, said, 'The key to continuing to generate outstanding returns for our investors is to drive transformational change in our portfolio companies. Dave’s thirty-year career as an operator of some of the world’s leading companies will greatly enhance our ability to help our portfolio company CEOs transform and grow their businesses. As the former CEO of one of our largest and most successful portfolio companies, Dave knows our team well and how to unlock value in private equity-backed companies'.
Calhoun said: 'I am thrilled to be joining Blackstone. They are a recognized leader in the private equity industry and they have been an important contributor to The Nielsen Company’s success. I look forward to working with our portfolio company CEOs in every way I know how to build better companies and create added value for our fund investors'.