Bloomberg Law CEO Appointment Casts Spotlight on BNA Merger

Bloomberg today announced that Greg McCaffery has been named Chief Executive Officer of Bloomberg Law. He replaces Larry D. Thompson, who is retiring after less than 2 years with the organization.  McCaffery most recently served as CEO and President of Bloomberg BNA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bloomberg.  Bloomberg acquired BNA, the legal and regulatory publishing company, on September 30, 2011.

What does this change mean?  I think it means several  things:

  1. It’s obviously a sign of recognition and approval from the Bloomberg’s upper echelon for McCaffery’s work in leading the smooth  integration of BNA into the Bloomberg portfolio. As I mentioned in my previous blogs, the BNA acquisition provided  Bloomberg Law with some much needed content, national respectability, and a shift in the corporate focus from its parent company’s  strong identification  with the New York financial market, to a more national one,  based in Washington, DC.  The acquisition also sent a loud message to Bloomberg Law’s  competitors- Lexis and Westlaw, that the upstart was unafraid to spend money to buy content.
  2. The departure of  Thompson after less than 2 years at the helm , and the rise of McCaffery during the same period, signals a “new phase” for Bloomberg Law. This theme was echoed by both McCaffery, and his boss, Beth Mazzeo, Bloomberg’s Global Head of Data Products and the leader of the company’s vertical businesses, in today’s announcement.
  3. Thompson and McCaffery seem to have different  backgrounds and different missions. Thompson was brought in the “grow” Bloomberg Law- including go-to-market, sales, content, data and relationships.  He arrived with  more than 25 years of experience as an executive in the legal publishing field, including 12 years with LexisNexis, where he rose to the position of Senior Vice President, Business Development, Strategy & Marketing and Global Chief Marketing Officer.  His move to Bloomberg  Law (along with Bloomberg Chairman Andreozzi ), was  considered a public relations coup for the new company, providing the upstart with both national exposure and name recognition – while taking a swipe at Lexis/Nexis. The addition of these 2 veterans was perceived as a marketing coup as well – giving Bloomberg much needed experience in its attempt to gain market share in an arena long dominated by Lexis and Westlaw.
  4. McCafferyhas a strong identification with BNA . He  began his career at there  in 1986 and held reporting and editing positions on several BNA publications  until 1990, when he was appointed to management. He became  President and Chief Operating Officer in April 2007. McCaffery was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Bloomberg BNA in January 2012. His new charge is also a bit different and ‘ low key” than Thompson’s- he will be  “responsible for  development and execution of strategy and management of day-to-day operations.

Look for Bloomberg  Law under McCaffery to  attempt to build  upon the “foundation ” that Thompson laid, as he did in his 26 year long successful run  with BNA – through solid management  and development of a top national sales team. Hopefully, he will have more than 2 years to accomplish this.

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