Louis Hau of Forbes writes Friday about what Robert Thomson‘s career at The Financial Times, where he rose to U.S. managing editor, reflects about what he will do as publisher of The Wall Street JournalÂ when he takes over that job next week.
Hau wrote, “Thomson was widely respected within the FT for his reporting bona fides and his sharp editing skills. As the FT‘s weekend editor, he oversaw a successful redesign of the weekend edition, which prompted a sharp rise in circulation. Later, as U.S. managing editor, he led the paper’s drive to grow its modest presence on this side of the Atlantic.
“Although dwarfed by the Journal in terms of staffing and readership, the FT quickly proved itself a thorn in the side of the larger business daily. A key win over the Journal came in November 1998, when the FT broke the news of merger talks between Exxon and Mobil. The FT ultimately saw U.S. circulation more than triple under Thomson’s leadership.
“So what will be on Thomson’s agenda as Journal publisher? One of his tasks will feel rather familiar: grow the paper’s presence in Europe, where the FT has long enjoyed a far larger readership. In other words, do for the Journal in Europe what he did for the FT in the U.S. Another assignment: broaden the Journal‘s appeal as a national daily to compete better with The New York Times.”
Read more here.