Reuters CEO Andrew Rashbass Speaks to Staff During Town Hall Meeting

ReutersReuters Chief Executive Officer Andrew Rashbass addressed Reuters staff during an hour-long town hall meeting at the New York Reuters building this morning.

The meeting comes amid tumult at the company. Last week, Editor in Chief and President Steve Adler announced that there would be around a 5 percent staff cut across editorial, and, in September, Reuters announced that it was canceling Next, the consumer-facing website that had been in the works for more than two years.

Mr. Rashbass touted the organization’s business model, which relies on subscription financial news rather than consumer news, and announced a push to develop television and improve Reuters.com, the company’s existing website.

Within a small number of weeks, Mr. Rashbass said, Reuters will have replatformed the mobile apps that were developed for Reuters Next, begin to serve video properly and redesign the website to make it look more modern.

“Every few weeks, the website will get better,” he said.

U.S. Managing Editor Brian Tracey asked what the company learned from Reuters Next.

“If you drive looking in the rearview mirror, you crash, really,” Mr. Rashbass said, explaining that he doesn’t like looking backward.

But in terms of lessons learned, Mr. Rashbass said, “We have to be realistic about how big projects are and then be very, very wary of projects that costs millions of dollars and take years.”

Reuters.com, he explained, will have real-world improvements in the next five or six weeks.

Mr. Rashbass said that the company will expand the use of social media in breaking news but didn’t delve into specifics.

“I can announce formally that we are not acquiring Twitter,” Mr. Rashbass said, to what sounded like laughter from the conference room.

In general, Mr. Rashbass said that the company was more likely to build than to acquire technology.

Building off of what Mr. Adler said in last week’s conference call, Mr. Rashbass said that Reuters will be hiring significant numbers of journalists over the next 12 months to work in emerging markets, but the CEO mostly avoided commenting on the editorial cuts that Mr. Adler announced last week.

At the moment, Mr. Rashbass said, his mantra is “no time, no money.”