CIO Straight Talk - Issue 9 - 36
Executive Vice President and Chief Information
Rick King joined Thomson Reuters in 2000 and has
held numerous executive-level roles in the company,
including Chief Operating Officer for Technology and
Chief Technology Officer of several units. He began
his career as a high school math teacher and coach.
A passionate gender equality advocate, Rick is a
member of the Gender Partnership Council of the
Anita Borg Institute. The National Center for Women
in Technology is sponsor of "
Aspire to Lead", an
annual conference presented by W
Reuters that draws hundreds of attendees.
He is a recipient of the 2017 "Guys Who Get It Award"
from the Institute for Women's Leadership, which
recognizes male C-level executives of top companies
and government o
rganizations who are successfully
establishing gender equality as a cultural norm in
Rick serves on the boards of trustees for Minnesota
Public Radio, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Greater
MSP, and the Minnesota Business Partnership. He also
serves on the Metropolitan Airports Commission, the
State of Minnesota T
echnology Advisory Committee
and is on the board of directors for TCF Financial
B.S. and M.Ed., University of Vermont
All things aviation, reading about politics and
history, tech gadgets, traveling, and spending time
A male executive has sponsored innovative programs that are increasing
the number of women technology leaders in his organization.
It's no secret that the number of women in
technology leadership roles is woefully low.
Although women account for 21% of the total
technology workforce in the U.S.-in itself
nothing to boast about-they hold only 14% of
executive-level positions. Clearly, we need to
improve those numbers, for reasons of both
basic fairness and the distinctive business value
that women technology leaders can bring to
Seven years ago, we created a program to
reduce the attrition of mid-career women
in technology at Thomson Reuters. The
company, a global mass media and information
business, already had in place some significant
initiatives to encourage diversity and women
in the workplace. But I wanted a program that
focused on women in technology, given their
disproportionately low numbers at companies
around the world.
The program has seen some real success. Since
the launch in 2010, the number of women in
technology roles at Thomson Reuters has risen
from 17% to 27%. Promotion and retention
rates have improved among the 400 graduates
of the program. And although we still have
a long way to go, Thomson Reuters was
recognized by the Anita Borg Institute in 2016
as one of 25 U.S. companies who are leaders in
recruiting, retaining, and advancing women in
What accounts for these positive results?
For one thing, the program was extremely
well-designed and had the backing of senior
company leaders. In addition, the program has
enjoyed sustained commitment, avoiding the
all-too- common "corporate ADD," or attention
deficit disorder - enthusiastic support for an
initiative that rapidly wanes when another
"program of the month" comes along.
Finally, I think the program illustrates the
importance of a "gender partnership," the
alliance of women and men in driving the
change needed to achieve gender equity in
organizations and the business value it creates.