Tom Glocer out as Thomson family appoints new CEO
Thursday 1 December 2011
Tom Glocer is stepping down and will be replaced as chief executive by chief operating officer James Smith on 1 January, Thomson Reuters said on Thursday. The change is happening more quickly than had been expected, indicating the Thomson family which owns 55 per cent of the company is taking tight control of its largest asset.
The Financial Times quoted people close to the company as saying that David Thomson, chairman, and Geoffrey Beattie, the Canadian family’s consigliere who runs its investment vehicle Woodbridge, have been frustrated with the Thomson Reuters share price, which has fallen from above $41 to $27.22 this year.
The company has undergone a series of structural changes and management shake-ups over the past six months to address the disappointing performance of its markets division, which was essentially the old Reuters and mainly served financial institutions.
Glocer, 52, pictured left, has led Thomson Reuters since 2008, when Canada’s Thomson family completed its acquisition of Reuters. A mergers and acquisitions lawyer, he joined Reuters in 1993 and became the agency’s first American chief executive and the first not to have been a journalist in 2001.
He negotiated Reuters’ sale to the owner of Thomson Financial shortly before the global financial crisis. The merged group enjoyed almost three years of better than expected cost savings from the deal, but has struggled in the last year to roll out a financial services product called Eikon that was meant to unify the two legacy companies’ multiple data products.
By replacing him, the Thomson family effectively removes the last senior Reuters executive from the merged company’s top echelon.
Smith, pictured right, is a former journalist who joined the Thomson Newspaper Group in 1987. Until a few months ago he was head of the professional unit, which sells legal, tax and accounting products. That business has weathered the financial crisis much better than markets.
“By the end of the year, the organizational strategy and budget work I have been leading will be complete, and the transition plan I launched last summer will have achieved its objectives,” Glocer said in a statement. “Jim Smith is a very talented executive with whom I have worked closely over the past four years; he is ready to lead Thomson Reuters.”
The company’s stock has lost about 30 per cent of its value over the past six months as its banking and financial customers laid off thousands of employees and slashed costs.
David Thomson said in a statement: “Tom will be remembered as the individual who turned around Reuters ten years ago, led the company to growth and guided its sale to form Thomson Reuters. Over the past four years, Tom successfully directed an extensive integration, expanded our business internationally, revitalized the Reuters news organization and championed talent across the entire business. The board joins me in thanking Tom for his dedication and service to our company and wishes the very best for him and his family.”
He added: “Jim Smith will provide strong leadership for Thomson Reuters at this juncture. He has earned the respect and confidence of his colleagues and the board alike. His instincts and his customer focus have been the basis of a remarkable career in our business.
“Working with Tom Glocer, the board oversaw the successful execution of an established succession plan in the second half of 2011 and we look forward to beginning the new year with a new management team, new organizational structure, and ever stronger commitment to deliver long-term, sustainable value for all shareholders.”
The new organisational structure will consist of the following business units: financial and risk, legal, intellectual property and science, tax and accounting, and global growth organisation.
- Thomson Reuters