Both the CEO and CFO of financial news company Thomson Reuters are stepping down, the company announced Tuesday. Veteran media executive Steve Hasker will step in as CEO, and Reuters head of corporate finance Mike Eastwood will step in as CFO.
The moves go into effect on March 15. Hasker, formerly president and COO of Nielsen, succeeds CEO James Smith, who has been with Reuters for more than 30 years. CFO Stephane Bello will oversee strategy and business development as vice chairman while overseeing Eastwood’s transition through 2021.
"This is the right time to pass the baton to the next generation of leadership, given the continued success of our business and the spin-off of our market data and trading operations ... [Reuters] is on its firmest footing in years. The foundation has been laid for continued success and Steve is the right leader to take us forward," Smith said in a statement.
Smith expressed confidence on the company's most recent earnings call,that Reuters "couldn't be in a better place or in better hands for the next chapter," and referred to Hasker and Eastwood as being "the right team to lead an extraordinary cast of professionals on to unimaginable heights." After handing the reins to Hasker, Smith will become chairman of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the corporation’s media freedom, inclusive economies and equal justice charitable organization, the company said.
Eastwood has worked at Thomson Reuters for more than 20 years, and has headed corporate finance since 2016. Outgoing CFO Stephane Bello had served in the role since 2012, and going forward is expected to oversee the company’s 45% stake in financial and risk unit Refinitiv, which is majority-owned by private equity firm Blackstone, Forbes reported.
"I could not think of a better executive to succeed me," Bello said of Eastwood on the earnings call. "Mike and I have been working closely for the last 4 years, and we have been working hand in glove for the last 18 months."
On the call, Eastwood said as CFO, he intends to deliver "credible and reliable" guidance to the company and its investors. "I've been intimately involved in preparing that guidance, and I intend to keep that track record with regard to any targets we provide going forward," he said.
"Steve Hasker is known for being innovative, with immense integrity, intellect and people skills. Mike is an operator with solid judgment and experience," Chairman of the board David Thomson said. "Our future remains in fine hands."
Also on Tuesday, Reuters reported it had met or exceeded its annual earnings guidance for the eighth consecutive year, achieving 4% organic revenue growth.