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A flag displaying the Thomson Reuters logo flies outside a company building in Boston in this file photo. (Lisa Poole/AP)
A flag displaying the Thomson Reuters logo flies outside a company building in Boston in this file photo. (Lisa Poole/AP)

MEDIA

Thomson Reuters taps Economist veteran to lead news and media unit Add to ...

A veteran of The Economist Group who led the company to record profits has been tapped to lead the news and media business of Thomson Reuters Corp.

Andrew Rashbass, who served for 15 years at the London-based business newsweekly, is a former managing director of Economist.com who rose to become group chief executive in 2008.

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“He brings to us a rare blend of commercial acumen, sensitivity to the best traditions of quality journalism and editorial integrity,” James Smith, chief executive officer of Thomson Reuters, said in a statement. “And has a proven ability to build and lead great global business teams.”

Under Mr. Rashbass’s leadership, pretax profit at The Economist rose 8.7 per cent in the year ended March 31, 2012, to £64.6-million ($101-million), on revenue of £362-million. Global circulation for its flagship magazine hit more than 1.6 million in March, 2012, comprising 1.5 million in print and 123,000 digital subscriptions.

In a rare interview he granted with The Guardian in Nov. 2011 – reportedly his first in four years – Mr. Rashbass attributed part of the magazine’s success to “the megatrend of mass intelligence.” People, he said, were “smarting up” rather than “dumbing down.”

Based in London, he assumes the newly created role of chief executive, Reuters, after a series of management changes at parent Thomson Reuters. Media revenue last year was $331-million, up 1 per cent from the previous year, a thin slice of the company’s $12.9-billion revenue in 2012. Last December, the company said it was creating a new business unit under Stephen Adler, the former Reuters editor-in-chief, to deliver more of its news to customers of its other services, such as its flagship Eikon desktop product, aimed at financial industry professionals. Mr. Rashbass will oversee that unit.

“I am excited to be joining Reuters with its unmatched commitment to reporting with speed, accuracy, integrity and independence,” Mr Rashbass said in a statement. “These characteristics can also drive huge commercial success.”

“We are delighted that someone of Andrew’s commercial and human qualities has chosen to join our senior team,” Thomson Reuters chairman David Thomson said. Woodbridge Co. Ltd., the Thomson family’s holding company, is the majority owner of The Globe and Mail.

Thomson Reuters (TRI)

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