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Thomson Reuters CEO taps veterans for promotion to boost growth

Thomson Reuters on Monday promoted long-time executives to lead three of its profit centres " legal, intellectual property & science, and global growth & operations " as part of a wider reorganisation aimed at boosting growth and cutting costs.

Last month, chief executive James Smith announced a restructuring that included the elimination of some 3,000 positions, mainly in the financial & risk division, which serves banks and other financial institutions.  Today he told the group’s 60,000 employees: “We are making important changes to the senior management team to help guide Thomson Reuters forward through our transformation.”

  • Susan Taylor Martin, pictured, managing director of the legal business in the UK and Ireland, becomes president of the global legal division, which contributes more than a quarter of total revenue.
  • Basil Moftah, managing director for the Middle East, Africa and Russia, becomes president of intellectual property & science.
  • Gonzalo Lissarrague, managing director of global growth & operations Latin America, becomes president of GGO, an area that includes certain emerging markets.

“All three executives are proven performers with broad global experience across a number of businesses,” Smith said. They are also long-time employees. Martin joined Reuters in 1993, later becoming head of corporate strategy and president of the media business. Moftah joined in 1997 in Egypt, interrupting his career for five years to complete an MBA at Harvard and work in a venture capital firm before re-joining in 2004. Lissarrague joined in 1991 and held a variety of positions including marketing, editorial and electronic products, technology and sales.

The appointments take effect on 1 January.

“A few weeks ago I said we would ‘move faster in our transformation work’,” Smith said. “Today's changes are consistent with that statement, and I look forward to working more closely with Susan, Basil and Gonzalo as we take the next steps on our journey.”

He added: “As a result of these changes, Mike Suchsland, Chris Kibarian and Shanker Ramamurthy will be transitioning out of the company.”

In a separate staff message on Friday, Smith and Neil Masterson, chief transformation officer, said in a joint memo: “Innovation is alive and well across Thomson Reuters. Whether a concept for a new product, an improved process or technology platform or a more effective sales approach, we generate new ideas every day.

“Our challenge? Your great ideas are not as consistently noticed, funded, scaled or celebrated as they could be. Lessons learned are not shared systematically across business and geographic boundaries. To transform our company and drive growth, we must change this.

“We must find ways to more quickly and easily surface promising new ideas, put the right resources behind them, implement them efficiently and share what we learn. We must inspire this at every level of our organization, allowing us to continue to enhance our core capabilities and offerings as well as build entirely new ones.

“In short, we must build an environment where innovation can more easily thrive.” The first steps along that path will be taken in early 2014 when a new Innovation Growth Fund is launched. “This new fund is designed to surface great ideas to improve our core business capabilities and adjacencies, while providing the early investments needed to get them off the ground. It will complement our current efforts and fill gaps between them, enabling us to incent, launch and leverage innovative ideas faster and with greater impact. We are finalizing the details now and will provide further information about this fund in January. “

Innovation must be made an even stronger part of the Thomson Reuters culture, they said.

Cary Burch, a Thomson Reuters president and managing director, will help to champion and promote innovation across the company.

“To drive innovation broadly, we must tap into the collective creativity and intellectual horsepower of our talented people. Together, we can generate cutting-edge ideas and solve problems from across the company. Stay tuned to learn how you can get involved in the weeks and months ahead.

“Innovation is alive and well across the company. Now it’s time to turbocharge it. These steps will provide the foundation to help us more effectively identify, nurture and harness innovation to accelerate our growth.”

The company on Monday affirmed its full-year business outlook for 2013. It expects revenue this year to rise at a low single-digit percentage rate. ■

Thomson Reuters