The Trust Principles
The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles impose obligations on the company and its employees to act at all times with integrity, independence and freedom from bias.
They are fundamental to the entire business of Thomson Reuters.
The Trust Principles were created in 1941 in the midst of the Second World War with the express purpose of preserving Reuters’ independence, integrity and freedom from bias.
Although the language of the Trust Principles has been slightly modified over the years, their purpose has remained true to the original. The Trust Principles now state
- That Thomson Reuters shall at no time pass into the hands of any one interest, group or faction;
- That the integrity, independence and freedom from bias of Thomson Reuters shall at all times be fully preserved;
- That Thomson Reuters shall supply unbiased and reliable news services to newspapers, news agencies, broadcasters and other media subscribers and to businesses, governments, institutions, individuals and others with whom Thomson Reuters has or may have contracts;
- That Thomson Reuters shall pay due regard to the many interests which it serves in addition to those of the media; and
- That no effort shall be spared to expand, develop and adapt the news and other services and products of Thomson Reuters so as to maintain its leading position in the international news and information business.
In 1984, when Reuters became a publicly traded company on the London Stock Exchange and NASDAQ, a unique structure was put in place to safeguard the Trust Principles. The Reuters Founders Share Company was created and was armed with a single, golden share in Reuters.
The Reuters Founders Share Company agreed to support Thomson Corporation’s acquisition of Reuters Group and its subsidiaries. The Trustees concluded that the merger would help secure the financial health of the Reuters business. Thomson, Reuters and Woodbridge, the controlling shareholder of Thomson Reuters, agreed to take certain actions to support the Trust Principles. These included agreeing to adopt and uphold the Trust Principles in relation to Thomson Reuters and implementing certain changes to the charter documents of Thomson Reuters Corporation and Thomson Reuters PLC and the Thomson Reuters company structure.
The then chairman of the Founders Share Company, Pehr Gyllenhammar, said: “The future of Reuters takes precedence over the principles,” the Financial Times reported after the takeover.
Today, the Founders Share Company, whose directors are known as Trustees, holds a single Founder Share in Thomson Reuters Corporation.
The Trust Principles were adopted by the combined company at the takeover in April 2008.
The charter documents of the two parent companies of Thomson Reuters, Thomson Reuters Corporation and Thomson Reuters PLC, require Thomson Reuters directors, in the performance of their duties, to have due regard to the Reuters Trust Principles, by the proper exercise of their powers and in accordance with their other duties as directors.