Reuters has certainly come a long way. Back in the 1850s, an innovative Paul Julius Reuter used pigeons to carry share price information between Brussels and Aachen. Today, his company's activities are a little more sophisticated. Reuters' profits have risen to just over £700 million on turnover of £2.7 billion. Of the latter, about 70% is derived from electronically delivered news, financial information and dealing services for businesses across the world.
In winning this year's Most Admired Companies survey, Reuters scored highly in every aspect of its performance. It also finished top of the news and publishers sector in six of the nine performance yardsticks and came second in the other three (its main sectoral rival was Reed International, the Anglo-Dutch publishing group with whom Reuters had tentative merger talks earlier this year. The quality of its products and services, and its value as a long-term investment was judged the strongest across all sectors of the economy.
Peter Job, Reuters chief executive, can take much of the credit. His low-profile management style and downbeat manner conceal a sharp eye for long-term business trends. He took over as chief executive of Reuters in 1991 and has presided over a period of rapid growth - in part because of 'his capacity to gaze unflinchingly at the problems in the business', according to chairman Sir Christopher Hogg.