The huge shakeup at the Markets’ division dominated the Thomson Reuters’ otherwise positive Q2 earnings call this morning, as analysts peppered CEO Tom Glocer, who is now the hands-on manager of the segment with last week’s departure of the unit’s head Devin Wenig, about how and when the things will turnaround.
Glocer pleaded for some patience in fixing the Markets division, which has been plagued by a problem that is largely out of its hands: staffing levels at securities firms have not returned to pre-recession levels and headcounts are expected to be reduced further in the fall. As a result, there are few individual customers for the the division’s investment-related products like Eikon and Elektron. While the division will still be structured around those two products, sales has taken a hit, since the only option at the moment is to reduce and streamline.
Now that that process has begun, Glocer discussed a 30-day plan, which involves reorganizing the roles of its sales staff, and a 90-day plan, which entails “repositioning” the product line. On top of that, there is a year-plus plan that calls for developing a broader strategy around Eikon and Elektron.
“Any time you do this level of transformation, people need time to get their sea legs,” Glocer said. “So, in the short term, we expect some disruption. At the same time, we expect a lot of excitement on people moving forward with the new strategy in place.”
Asked if Glocer’s direct management of Markets is an interim measure — he’s said before that it’s not — or a permanent one, he responded, “Permanent is a long time,” he laughed. “I’m the ninth chief executive of Reuters (NYSE: TRI) in 160 years.” Suffice to say, for the foreseeable future, Glocer will be running Markets day-to-day.
As for specifics about the product strategy, Glocer didn’t offer too many details. Though he was adamant that the company wouldn’t be lowering the prices for its products.