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Thomson Reuters responds to media report on search for next CEO

In response to a media report about engaging a search firm to find its new CEO, Thomson Reuters Corp. said succession planning for key executives is just part of good governance.

The Financial Times on Oct. 20 reported, citing four sources, that the company had hired Spencer Stuart to shortlist internal and external candidates to succeed CEO James Smith, but that the transition was unlikely in 2019. Sources for the FT said co-COO Neil Masterson was one of the internal candidates.

David Thomson, chairman of the Thomson Reuters board said in a news release that the company continuously reviews internal candidates and works with search firms to look for external candidates. "The Board is fully supportive of Jim Smith and his management team. We are aligned on strategy and direction," he said.

The FT also reported that following its report, Smith emailed colleagues that he was not planning to exit the company and that the search process was part of Thomson Reuters' succession planning procedure. Smith was named CEO of Thomson Reuters in January 2012 and he was previously the company's COO. He was hospitalized in 2018 after feeling unwell.