Wednesday, October 27News That Matters

Reuters Names a New Editor in Chief

Reuters has named Alessandra Galloni, one of the news agency’s highest-ranking editors, as its new editor in chief, the company announced Monday.

Ms. Galloni, 47, will be the first woman to lead the Reuters newsroom in its 170-year history. As global managing editor since 2015, she already had a top position at one of the world’s biggest news organizations, with 2,500 journalists in 200 locations.

Ms. Galloni, a native of Rome who has been working in the company’s London office, will succeed Stephen J. Adler, who led Reuters for a decade before announcing his retirement this year. On his watch, the company won seven Pulitzer Prizes, including the award for breaking-news photography in 2019 and 2020. Ms. Galloni will remain in London after starting her new role next Monday.

“For 170 years, Reuters has set the standard for independent, trusted and global reporting,” she said in a statement. “It is an honor to lead a world-class newsroom full of talented, dedicated and inspiring journalists.”

At the start of her career, Ms. Galloni worked at Reuters’s Italian-language news service. She went on to a 13-year stint as a reporter and editor at The Wall Street Journal before rejoining Reuters as the editor of its Southern Europe bureau in 2013.

Michael Friedenberg, the president of Reuters, said in a statement that Ms. Galloni had “a compelling vision for the future of news.”

“She was the standout candidate in an extensive, global search and highly competitive recruitment process, which featured many impressive internal and external candidates,” he said.

Executives at Thomson Reuters, the parent company, have been looking for ways to cut costs and raise revenue at the news agency. That means Ms. Galloni will have to be an entrepreneur as much as a newsroom leader.

Reuters’s profit is small for the size of its business. Last year, it made $73 million in pretax profit on $628 million in revenue.

While owned by Thomson Reuters, Reuters is primarily funded by another company: the London Stock Exchange Group. Reuters receives at least $325 million a year for the next 28 years from the entity that operates the British exchange, and nearly 60 percent of the newsroom’s costs were funded by the vendor agreement last year.

The unique arrangement came about as a result of a complex set of acquisitions. In October 2018, Thomson Reuters sold the majority of its data business, known by its brand name, Refinitiv, to the investment giant Blackstone Group in a $20 billion deal. Reuters is integrated into Refinitiv, a data product popular with Wall Street traders and business executives. It competes with Bloomberg L.P.

But longstanding bylaws that govern Reuters make a takeover of the newsroom nearly impossible. A so-called poison pill provision prevents any one entity from owning more than 15 percent of the news operation. Another provision gives the directors of the trust that governs Reuters the power to veto or endorse any takeover.

Partly because of that complication, Thomson Reuters brokered an arrangement in which Blackstone agreed to pay Reuters at least $325 million a year for 30 years, in effect giving the newsroom a nearly $10 billion endowment.

In January, Blackstone sold Refinitiv to the London Stock Exchange Group in an all-stock transaction.

Financial data has become much more important to stock exchanges and trading houses as computer-aided trading, or bot trades, have become more popular. Marketplaces like the London Stock Exchange are trying to offer more one-stop-shop solutions for clients with the addition of data and news.

The appointment of Ms. Galloni, who received the 2020 Lawrence Minard Editor Award from the Gerald Loeb Foundation, which honors business journalists, fills a top journalism job while other major newsrooms are searching for their next top editors. Norman Pearlstine retired from the top newsroom job at The Los Angeles Times in December, and Martin Baron, the executive editor of The Washington Post, called it a career in February. The two publications are expected to name their replacements soon.