Thomson scours city for staff in twin towers
By KEITH DAMSELL, The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, September 12, 2001
Thomson Corp. was searching late Tuesday for about 200 employees who work at company offices in New York's World Trade Center.
“We are doing everything possible at the moment to find out what happened, to whom and how we can help,” said Dick Harrington, president and chief executive officer of the Toronto-based information services company, in a statement to employees.
“Amid the confusion, it is unclear how many were actually in the buildings at the time of the attack,” Mr. Harrington said. “At this time, I ask that you keep your colleagues and their families in your thoughts and prayers.”
Three Thomson Financial businesses have office space in the twin towers: I/B/E/S, Baseline and Vestek. They each offer financial information services to professionals and were part of Primark Corp., which was acquired by Thomson for $842-million (U.S.) last year.
In addition, one unidentified Thomson employee had a reservation aboard American Airlines Flight 11 travelling from Boston to Los Angeles. Flight 11 was one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center Tuesday. The employee had confirmed a seat aboard the plane, but it is unknown if the individual was on the flight, the company said.
A crisis management team composed of Thomson managers from across the company, including senior management, human resources, legal affairs, communications and investor relations, convened Tuesday morning. At the company's U.S. headquarters in Stamford, Conn., and on the ground in New York, company officials were working with government authorities to locate all employees, said company spokesman Jason Stewart.
“There's a lot of calling to families going on, a lot of calling to contacts and to employees directly to try and confirm who was in the building and who got out,” said Mr. Stewart.
Thomson's nearby Manhattan offices were evacuated in the moments following the disaster. About 1,800 employees left the company's Broadway offices shortly after 9 a.m., followed soon after by the evacuation of an undetermined number of Wall Street and Liberty Street employees.
Thomson Financial is the fastest growing of the company's four divisions. Last year, the financial group reported revenue of $1.3-billion (U.S.), about 20 per cent of the company's $5.9-billion in revenue.
Since February last year, Thomson has largely exited the North American newspaper market, and used proceeds to fuel growth in electronic information services. In January this year, the company agreed to fold its flagship paper The Globe and Mail into Bell Globemedia. The new company is 70.1 per cent owned by Montreal's BCE Inc., 20 per cent by Thomson and 9.9 per cent by Woodbridge Co. Ltd., a Toronto holding company controlled by the Thomson family. The Thomson company hopes to conclude the sale of its last two newspapers - The winnipeg Free Press and The Brandon Sun - by the end of the year.
Chairman Kenneth Thomson owns a 73-per-cent stake in the company, valued at about $14-billion.