Reuters Editor in Chief Is Stepping Down After a Decade

The editor in chief of Reuters, Stephen J. Adler, will retire in April after 10 years at the helm of one of the world’s largest news agencies, the company announced Wednesday.

Mr. Adler, 65, was appointed to the top job in 2011, after joining the parent company, Thomson Reuters, the previous year. He was a former editor in chief of Businessweek. A search for his replacement will start in the coming days, Reuters said.

The news agency employs about 2,500 journalists operating out of some 200 locations around the world, and produces about two million news items a year. It covers general and breaking news, offering text, visuals and video to media organizations as well as running its own news website. It also has a financial news wire that competes against Bloomberg.

In an interview on Wednesday, Mr. Adler said a key role of Reuters was to be “the eyes and ears of news organizations that can’t afford to have people everywhere in the world.”

“Our business model, which is very expensive, is to put people on the ground everywhere so that other people can use our material and then focus on what is specifically critical to their own user base,” he said.

Mr. Adler said journalist safety had been a main challenge during his tenure. Two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, were imprisoned in Myanmar for more than 500 days before they were finally released in May 2019. (They received a Pulitzer Prize for their work exposing the Rohingya genocide.) Last month, a Reuters cameraman was detained in Ethiopia before being released on Tuesday without charges.

“We’ve also had a lot of people injured in the line of duty, even in the U.S. in the many protests this past year and quite a few being shot with rubber bullets or beaten up,” Mr. Adler said.

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Reuters was founded in London in 1851 by Paul Julius Reuter and initially transmitted stock market prices between London and Paris via the Dover-Calais cable, the first international cable. (Mr. Reuter had previously used carrier pigeons to fly information between Brussels and a German city, Aachen.)

The company expanded to become a global news service and was notable for its scoops, including being the first in Europe to report the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln in 1865.

The Thomson Corporation bought it for about $17.2 billion in 2007, with the new company called Thomson Reuters. The Reuters news and media service is a division of Thomson Reuters.

Under Mr. Adler’s watch, Reuters has won seven Pulitzer Prizes, including the award for breaking news photography in both 2019 and 2020.

Mr. Adler said that after retiring he would focus on his work as chairman of Columbia Journalism Review’s board of overseers, chairman of the board of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and board member for the Committee to Protect Journalists. He added that the multiple sclerosis of his wife, the author Lisa Grunwald, had influenced his decision, and that he wanted to continue spending more time with her at home and traveling less.

In a statement, Steve Hasker, president and chief executive, said Mr. Adler was “a tireless advocate for independent journalism and a champion for press freedom and media literacy.”

Mr. Adler’s retirement will add to a pool of openings for high-profile editor positions. The Los Angeles Times, which is owned by Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, a billionaire entrepreneur, and his wife, Michele B. Chan, is seeking a successor to Norman Pearlstine, who has stepped aside as executive editor. Martin Baron, the executive editor of The Washington Post, is expected to retire this year.

HuffPost, recently acquired by BuzzFeed, is still without a top editor. And speculation continues to swirl over when Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The New York Times since 2014, will decide to retire.

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