Skip to main content


What does a Chief Transformation Officer do?

Thomson Reuters' new chief transformation officer introduced himself to the company's staff on Wednesday and tried to explain what his job entails.

Neil Masterson, formerly in charge of the financial and risk division’s investors business, was appointed by chief executive James Smith on 1 October with the task of leading “a broad-based dialogue to help us shift from a portfolio of businesses to a true enterprise that is focused on innovating for our customers...”

Smith – who later unveiled mass lay-offs across the company – admitted: “I don’t for one minute think that this will be easy. I know we’ll have to take many tough decisions to redirect our efforts toward our future potential. What got us here simply won’t get us there. But our rich heritage allows us to build from a position of strength. No-one is better positioned to help professionals navigate the information age by connecting professional communities, supporting innovation, and discovering and powering global commerce. No-one is better positioned to provide our customers with unrivaled operating systems and work-flow tools built on the back of trusted, authoritative and relevant intelligence.”

He added: “We aspire to nothing less than redefining the intersection of information and technology. And that opportunity is well within our grasp.”

Masterson said in a message circulated to staff one of the most common questions he had been asked had been “What does a Chief Transformation Officer do?”

“To try to answer that question (and a few others) I recently sat down to talk about what this transformation means. And, perhaps more importantly, what it doesn’t mean.”

To find the answer, Masterson invited staff to watch a video interview.

“To unlock our collective potential, we must come together as a more unified enterprise,” he said. “As Jim has said, we must innovate more rapidly and build pipelines of organic growth. We must continue to simplify the way we do business, learning from one another and taking better advantage of our scale. And we must provide the right tools and opportunities to our people – as you will be the key to our success.”

He added: “This evolution must be a team effort. Most of the changes will be driven within the individual businesses and functions, not from a central transformation office. I will be working with colleagues from across the company to listen, to learn, to share information, and to provide tools and support to help to ensure our overall success.

“I can’t promise that change will always be easy. And we don’t have all the answers yet. But I commit to communicating regularly and providing more information in the weeks and months ahead. In the near term, you will be hearing more about efforts to encourage and enhance innovation company-wide.”

In the meantime, Masterson said, watch the video. ■

Thomson Reuters