Thomson Reuters Legal Gets New President

Here is a surprising story that I missed earlier this week while I was off at a conference: Thomson Reuters Legal is getting a new president. Out goes Mike Suchsland, president since 2011. In comes Susan Taylor Martin, currently the managing director of Thomson Reuters Legal in the UK and Ireland.

Susan Taylor Martin

Susan Taylor Martin

The changeover, effective Jan. 1, was announced Monday along with announcements of new presidents for two other TR divisions: Basil Moftah replacing Chris Kibarian at Intellectual Property & Science and Gonzalo Lissarrague replacing Shanker Ramamurthy at Global Growth & Operations.

It was Suchsland who, at a meeting I covered at TR’s Eagan, Minn., headquarters last January, made the pronouncement that TR no longer viewed itself as an information company, but as a “solutions business.”

“We have decided that our long-term vision is not information, it is software tools, solutions, ways to enable attorneys to practice in a more cogent way,” Suchsland told the gathering of legal journalists, bloggers and technology consultants.

The announcement gave no reason for the changes. It said that Suchsland, Kibarian and Ramamurthy “will be transitioning out of the company.”

In a report on the shuffle, the Minneapolis Star Tribune said, “Thomson Reuters, which just announced global job cuts of about 3,000 people, is restructuring to improve financial performance.” It also said that the legal division “saw its operating profit decline by 1 percent to $708 million for the first nine months of 2013 on revenue that increased by 3 percent to $2.48 billion.”

Incoming president Taylor Martin joined what was then Reuters in 1993 working in business development and has held various leadership roles with the company in the years since. Before becoming managing director of TR Legal in the UK, she was president of Reuters Media. Prior to that, she was president of Global Investment Focus Accounts. Earlier, she was managing director of sales and service for the UK and Ireland. Even earlier, she was global head of corporate strategy for Reuters.

Before joining Reuters, Taylor Martin worked in corporate finance. She has a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard and a master’s degree in Chinese and history of art from St. John’s College Cambridge.

The announcement comes less than two months before the annual LegalTech conference in New York, an event where Thomson Reuters and other companies traditionally announce their latest and greatest products and enhancements. It also caps a year in which TR Legal rolled out several notable new products, including its cloud-based practice management platform Firm Central, which I recently reviewed for the ABA Journal.