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Thomson Reuters: Building a Risk-Management Business

By Julian Birkinshaw, Stefano Turconi


The case tells the story of the evolution of Thomson Reuters’ risk business, from its creation in 2010 as Thomson Reuters GRC (governance, risk and compliance) to its position as a $700 million revenue business unit within the Finance and Risk (F&R) division of Thomson Reuters in 2016. The case is set in 2016, when the current head, Phil Cotter, is considering the strategic changes he needs to keep growing the business in a fast-changing market and the operational changes he needs to make to ensure it works effectively with all the other parts of the company.

Learning objectives

The purpose of the case is to illustrate the way a large firm responds to a new opportunity that doesn’t fit naturally with its existing business model. In simple terms, Thomson Reuters adopted the ‘separate then integrate’ logic, which allowed the new GRC business to grow rapidly in the early years and then gradually to become part of the company’s mainstream portfolio.

The case works well for a variety of advanced courses in strategy and organisation. We developed it for an elective course called ‘Achieving strategic agility’, but it could work equally well in a course on strategic change/disruption, corporate strategy or corporate entrepreneurship.


Publication Date: April 2015
LBS Case Code: CS-11-035
Subjects: , ,
Pages: 16
Format: pdf