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Leading through Change

09/23/2010 12:00 PM Wong Auditorium
Tom Glocer, CEO, Thomson Reuters

Description: In the 19th century, Baron de Reuter sent carrier pigeons with scrolls bearing the latest news and stock quotes to remote destinations in Europe, a canny strategy for beating the horseback"based competition. Since those days, Tom Glocer relates, the financial information company Thomson Reuters has been determined to deploy the latest technology in the service of information"hungry customers.

While the company has been steadfast to its goal of "delivering accurate information faster than anyone else," says Glocer, methods for extracting a "business benefit" from this mission have changed over time. Staying nimble around new technology has been key to seizing market advantage, Glocer believes. Business leaders sometimes wear "blinders" when it comes to recognizing technological change that confronts their industry, sticking with proven products and methods as old models crumble around them. They are encumbered by "the last set of restraints," and can't embrace "new freedoms" that emerge. Glocer invokes television pushing radio entertainment aside, and the swift, steady progression in computing from mainframes to minis to PCs.< br>
Today, the "economics of newspapers is breaking apart," and only those who are "light on their feet" are likely to survive the transition to digital media. Glocer notes that Thomson Reuters anticipated the significance of new media early, "getting out of newspapers while the party was still going on strong." Instead, his company decided that "wherever professionals need software and content to do their jobs, we want to be there with a compelling proposition we deliver electronically into their workplace." Glocer believes that many in the news industry spend more time "whining" that they can't convert "analog to digital dollars" than figuring out how to "make the leapto the next technology." Just as in scientific revolutions, old industry forms break down, new ones take shape, and a thriving business must catch the next wave.

Glocer maintains that Thomson Reuters, with its "history of uninterrupted value creation," will successfully weather the current economic storm in the newspaper world. While the future shape of information and news delivery is still fuzzy, Glocer believes that "whatever the son or grandson of iPad is" will bring the "rebirth of newspapers," with video, interactivity, and the entire world at a user's fingertips.

About the Speaker(s): Thomas Glocer joined Reuters Group in 1993 as Vice President and Deputy Counsel, Reuters America. He held a number of senior leadership positions at Reuters, including President of Reuters LatAm and Reuters America, before being named CEO of Reuters Group PLC in July 2001.

He is a director of Merck & Co., Inc., and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Board of Directors of the Partnership for New York City,and the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum, among others.

Glocer holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Columbia University and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

Host(s): Sloan School of Management, MIT Sloan School of Management

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