Security and cost are new Reuters IT chief's targets

Reuters has appointed a new chief information officer (CIO) to oversee security and internal systems, and spearhead its...

Reuters has appointed a new chief information officer (CIO) to oversee security and internal systems, and spearhead its cost-cutting drive.

Greg Meekings was formerly managing director for Reuters Global Transactions and managing director in the corporate technology group. He will be responsible for delivering IT systems to 18,000 staff in 97 countries.

A summer revamp of Reuter's IT department pulled together the internal support and business support functions with business processes, sourcing and some shared services.

Meekings said an early priority would be to ensure that the company hits its cost savings target of £155m per year by 2003.

Reuters plans to achieve these savings by moving to an Internet Protocol (IP)-based architecture and applying Internet technologies internally across the business.

"One focus is efficiency and delivering improved margins to the bottom line," said Meekings. "For example, we have invested quite heavily in online self purchasing, such as for PCs, and we are looking at smarter sourcing."

For employee expenses, traditionally something of a paper-mountain in many companies, certain staff at Reuters are now paid online, Meekings added.

He will also examine the case for expanding the group's shared service centre functions, which are primarily finance-based, into the provision of IT services. One option would be to outsource any IT shared service provision in the future, Meekings said.

In the current economic conditions and with the widespread freeze on new corporate IT projects, recruitment opportunities at Reuters for IT professionals are likely to remain limited. Reuters has recently axed jobs across the company and cut IT contractor rates by up to 20%.

Meekings hinted, however, that it was likely to need IT professionals with experience in Siebel and Oracle platforms in the future.

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