First Call Sheds Its Public Persona

Thomson Financial First Call unceremoniously reorganized its research divisions and booted out arguably the most respected prognosticator of corpor...
Lori CalabroApril 9, 2004

Chuck Hill’s insights on the impact of restructurings on corporate earnings were sought by everyone from Congress to CFO magazine. The veteran director of research for Thomson Financial First Call just never expected to experience it firsthand.

That changed on March 2, when the struggling unit of Thomson Corp. unceremoniously reorganized its research divisions and booted out Hill in the process. As a result, the financial-data provider shed its company’s very public persona and arguably Wall Street’s most respected prognosticator of corporate earnings announcements.

Chuck Hill “put the face on First Call,” says longtime professional acquaintance Samuel B. Jones Jr., chief investment officer for Boston-based Trillium Asset Management corp., referring to Hill’s many appearances on TV and in other media, analyzing consensus numbers. “What he brought to First Call and to the process was not a commodity,” he adds. Sarah Dunn, chief content officer at Thomson Financial, sees it differently.

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While she characterizes Hill as a “significant contributor,” she says it is the organizations that use the company’s data that are “the real strength and power” behind First Call.

Still, the breadth of analysis that the 66-year old brought to the industry will be sorely missed. So it’s not surprising that Hill, a rugby player in his spare time, has no plans to retire and is confident that enough offers will come in “over the transom” that he won’t be idle for long. One thing is certain” he doesn’t want to be the public face of anything anymore.

“When I saw [my] black-and-white sketch in the Wall Street Journal,” he says, “I knew why they wanted to replace me as the face of First Call.”

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