December 2, 2011
Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer is Out, COO Jim Smith to Replace Him; What's Next?
Yesterday, TRI reported in a press release, Thomson Reuters Announces New Organizational Structure and Leadership, the Company's latest shake up in its executive suites:
On December 31, 2011, Thomas H. Glocer, chief executive officer of Thomson Reuters and Reuters Group PLC since 2001, will retire and be succeeded on January 1, 2012 by James C. Smith, currently chief operating officer of Thomson Reuters. Mr. Glocer will also retire as a director of Thomson Reuters on December 31, 2011.
Remember, back in September 2011 after another corporate reorg was announced, Glocer did say it may result in some layoffs, though any cutbacks would affect "chiefs, not Indians in front of customers." See Thomson Reuters in Turmoil: Danger Alert, It's Time for "Chiefs" to Duck and Cover.
Succession Has Been in the Works. Due note that yesterday's press release quotes David Thomson about this transition:
“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.”
Well, like that wasn't already obvious to industry observers. Don't know the terms of Glocer's golden parachute that had to be part of the "succession plan" at Glocer's early retirement age of 52 (DOB: October 8.1959). At 59 (DOB: October 11, 1952) I want to retire now. The Blog Widow says "no." I think my mistake was paying attention to details, speaking my mind, and refusing to kiss employer ass. Don't like my professional opinion, fire me. But as far as I'm concerned my employers have paid me for my professional assessment, even if they don't like what they hear. My bad; no golden parachute for me. At least I don't own any TRI stock.
Ah well, perhaps Tom will have the time now to take up my long standing offer to talk while sharing a pitcher or two of beer at the location of his choosing. I'm thinking he can still pick up the bar tab.
Jim Smith as CEO. Again quoting David Thomson:
“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.”
WIth Jim Smith in charge, the new corporate line up is:
- Financial & Risk: David Craig, president
- Legal: Mike Suchsland, president
- Intellectual Property & Science: Chris Kibarian, president
- Tax & Accounting: Brian Peccarelli, president
- Global Growth Organization: Shanker Ramamurthy, president
paidContent's Ingrid Lunden and David Kaplan wonder about what's next at Thomson Reuters:
The move leaves a big question mark over whether this will finally put an end to the chops and changes at the company to set it on a more even keel, or whether there will be more to come.
Will It Be "good to be Jim"? Thomson Reuters need a complete corporate culture transformation. That's one very difficult task which requires strong leadership. Matthew Bender achieved it, many, many years ago. Remember, MB was the vendor institutional buyers hated to conduct business with for very justifiable reasons. Now that distinction goes to TR Legal for equally justifiable reasons.
MB's cultural transformation was a matter of survival. However, I have no idea if corporate cultural transformation is even on Smith's agenda. As for TR's survival, no one expects the Company to go belly-up, but there remains plenty of downside risk.
What's Next? If David Thomson is serious about "deliver[ing] long-term, sustainable value for all shareholders,” he better not be setting his sights on pre-2008 recession corporate financial metrics as the target for near-term or even longer term objectives. As the largest media company of its kind in the market sectors TRI plays in, there really is only one direction, down, down and down, unless TRI makes substantial changes to retain and acquire customers.
We screwed up big time but we are willing to correct our past mistakes by making concessions now. We know you don't trust us and we recognize we deserve your distrust because of how we have been conducting business.
We will work damn hard to gain your trust. We know this will be a long and winding road for our company but we are committed to reaching the ultimate destination -- reasonable pricing and accomodating each and every individual customer's need based on what you want and your fiscal circumstances in these trying times.
Cross out what you don't want in our boilerplate take-it-or-leave-it contracts. Replace it with what you need and we will work damn hard to accomodate you to retain you as a now valued customer.
"Trusted resources from Thomson Reuters" will be replaced as our tag line with "Trusting our consumers to know what they want from Thomson Reuters."
cc: Jim Smith
The most sustainable way to enhance shareholder value long-term is to change Thomson Reuters' culture from executive suites all the way down to account and in-house sales reps (who would welcome it) while reducing pricing to something the marketplace will find reasonable and introducing flexiblity in addressing customer needs. (NB the shareholder stake the Thomson family holds.) I've got some concerns about Jim Smith's "instincts and his customer focus" on that score.
For the sake of hard working TR employees, let's give Thomson Reuters the benefit of the doubt for now. Perhaps we will see a noticeable transformation in how TR conducts business... . Wait 'n see. [JH]