NEW YORK (Reuters) - Thomson Reuters Corp has appointed Stephen Adler as the new editor-in-chief of Reuters News, putting the former BusinessWeek executive in charge of all news operations across the company.
Adler, 56, replaces David Schlesinger, 50, who after a 24-year career at the global news and information provider will return to China — where he started his career — as chairman of Thomson Reuters China.
The move is part of a strategy to unite the broad resources of the company, created by the $16 billion takeover of the 160-year-old Reuters news agency by Thomson Corp in 2008.
“Our goal is to further the mission of making Thomson Reuters the world’s leading source for news and news-based services,” Adler said in a memo to employees on Monday.
The merger gave Reuters, traditionally a financial news and data provider, new customers in professional arenas including legal, healthcare and accounting.
Adler joined Reuters in 2010 as head of editorial content for professional clients. His appointment as editor-in-chief, overseeing nearly 3,000 journalists globally, takes effect immediately, the company said.
“There is going to be one news organization to serve all the businesses,” Adler, who will also take on the role of executive vice president of news at Thomson Reuters, said in an interview. “The goal is to have a united news organization.”
The change at the top of Reuters News comes as it faces unprecedented competition from thousands of Internet sources, which have transformed the global media industry, as well as from traditional rivals such as Bloomberg LP and News Corp’s Dow Jones.
“This blend of business news and consumer news is something Reuters is trying to figure out just as Dow Jones and Bloomberg are trying to figure out as well,” said Ken Doctor, a media analyst at Outsell Research.
As the head of news in Thomson Reuters professional division, which caters to legal, healthcare and tax businesses, Adler oversaw a team of journalists that drew upon the company’s deep databases to pursue investigative stories.
One such story, Adler said, involved sifting through data from Westlaw, Thomson Reuters legal research service, to determine how the rise in tweeting and blogging has led to more mistrials and overturned verdicts.
“Without that database we couldn’t have done that story,” he said.
Adler joined Thomson Reuters from BusinessWeek magazine, where he was top editor over a five-year period when the magazine won more than a 100 journalism awards. He left BusinessWeek after Bloomberg bought the financially struggling title.
Prior to BusinessWeek, Adler spent 16 years at the Wall Street Journal, where he led an investigative reporting team that won three Pulitzer prizes, the highest honor in American journalism.
As Reuters top journalist, Schlesinger oversaw the launch of the online video news service Reuters Insider, the integration of the Breakingviews financial commentary service and the launch of Reuters America, a general news wire.
“Competitors are swarming into the marketplace,” Adler said. “We have to be very strong around helping people understand what is happening.”
Adler said the change was not “cost-related” and he saw little overlap between the editorial resources of the company’s businesses that serve professionals and the news agency.
Thomson Reuters Chief Executive Tom Glocer said the appointment underscored the importance of news in the company’s business strategy.
“My biggest hope and goal for him is we maximize the amount of time and resource that truly goes to journalistic excellence,” Glocer said in an interview.
“Reuters developed its reputation when no one could do what we did,” he said. “We should do that again.”
Reporting by Kenneth Li and Jennifer Saba; Editing by Ted Kerr