Nielsen Tv set scores exec confronted ethics probe around affair with organization law firm

Television set-ratings business Nielsen hired outdoors attorneys in September to examine its No. 2 government for possessing an affair with a firm lawyer, The Submit has realized.

The inner probe — sparked by an nameless whistleblower — uncovered that Chief Running Officer Karthik Rao didn’t violate the company’s code of conduct, sources reported. But the alleged affair with the Nielsen attorney — who also acquired a advertising in the course of the trysts — has raised eyebrows during an era of “Me Too” company scrutiny.

The attorney finally broke up with Rao and left the corporation, a resource acquainted with the issue informed The Submit. After the break up, Rao despatched the lady a rambling e mail with the topic line “My thoughts…..” declaring, “I have carried out the function to know it is not your fault.”

“I fell deeply in love with you and the complete you,” Rao wrote in the December 2020 e mail, which was reviewed by The Write-up. “Having my have darkness, I knew that everybody has baggage. The reality is that I hardly ever ran, not at the time. And I was gentle, caring and careful to assistance you perform by your emotions for a very long time.”

Part of what Nielsen investigated, according to resources, was whether Rao applied his situation to pave the way for the female to get a promotion.

In a assertion to The Post, Rao reported: “I am in comprehensive compliance with the code of conduct. I am self-assured in the thoroughness of the investigation Nielsen finished and help its conclusions.” He declined to remark additional on the alleged affair.

Main Functioning Officer Karthik Rao, second from right, was investigated by Nielsen for acquiring an alleged affair with a enterprise lawyer. Part of what Nielsen investigated, in accordance to sources, was irrespective of whether Rao employed his placement to pave the way for the woman to get a promotion.
Rob Kim

Nielsen dominated that the affair didn’t present a conflict since Rao was not the woman’s direct supervisor. That is irrespective of the point that she seemingly was promoted rather of candidates that had been advised by Nielsen’s Deputy Chief Authorized Officer Eric Rubenstein, in accordance to a December 2019 email from Rubenstein to the girl, in which he also congratulated her for the advertising.

Nielsen said the woman’s supervisor “made a absolutely impartial conclusion,” which the corporation stated was affirmed during the system of its investigation.

Nevertheless Nielsen told The Submit that its review observed “no conflict of fascination in the efficiency of responsibilities or impact on Nielsen’s small business,” the company said it’s “taking this as an option to overview our policies and will be building updates, in session with outdoors counsel, as ideal.”

When questioned to element any updates, Nielsen wouldn’t comment especially, but explained: “We are reviewing — as we do periodically — the total code with respect to our personnel legal rights and obligations.”

The company’s most current code of perform, from 2019, says: “Certain associations can also produce conflicts of curiosity or the physical appearance of conflict of desire.” It also suggests: “A romantic connection in between a supervisor and someone managed by that particular person would present a conflict.”

Nonetheless, Nielsen’s code of carry out doesn’t need affairs to be disclosed, in contrast to some other public organizations, these types of as McDonald’s, which ousted a CEO past calendar year right after it discovered he had lied about an affair with an employee.

Nonetheless, “the optics of this aren’t good — and that is the trouble,” said Charles Elson, a company governance expert and attorney who is not concerned in the predicament.

Neilsen Chief Operation Officer Karthik Rao.
Neilsen Chief Operation Officer Karthik Rao.

If Nielsen experienced explicitly essential the disclosure of place of work affairs, it may have discouraged Rao from setting up the alleged romance — or provided the business the correct to willpower him as soon as it discovered of the alleged affair, Elson said.

Though sources stated Rao was cleared of code of perform violations, it is unclear if he faced any punishment for the alleged affair. Nielsen wouldn’t comment.

The company’s head of compliance and integrity, Lauren Connell, opened the investigation into Rao on Sept. 24, 4 days following the complaint was obtained, according to a document that thorough an exchange concerning Connell and the whistleblower.

“I have entire independence and entry to the interior data needed to thoroughly examine this issue and have retained outside counsel thanks to the major mother nature of the [alleged] carry out,” Connell wrote.

On Nov. 2, Connell despatched a cryptic information to the whistleblower that claimed, “We have totally investigated the worry you elevated and taken remedial action, if proper.”

It is unclear if Nielsen’s CEO or the board have been made conscious of the probe, but on Oct. 28, Rao participated in Nielsen’s 3rd-quarter earnings simply call. There was no point out of the investigation that he was struggling with at the time.

Rao’s rise to electrical power at Nielsen arrived amid upheaval at the firm in November 2019. The exploration organization had break up into two publicly-traded entities — 1 managing consumer investigate, and the other concentrating on Television set scores.

Rao, who was chief products and technology officer at Nielsen, was promoted to the lofty purpose of COO of the newly fashioned media company, now dubbed Nielsen World Media.

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