Bloomberg LP, the remix

July 10, 2008

Lex FenwickBig changes are underway at Bloomberg LP, both in the news division and the way the company is structured.

As we reported on Wednesday, the company’s multimedia operations will be set up as a new division, while a new incubator shop called Bloomberg Ventures will be run by the company’s former CEO and current sales chief, Lex Fenwick (see this piece for Fenwick’s insights). Bloomberg also is changing the way its sales teams hawk its news, data and financial products.

What does it all mean? From talking to around a dozen employees, we determined that it’s about shaking up the management a bit and consolidating power under the company’s two top executives, Dan Doctoroff and Peter Grauer. (Who shows up in Ian Austen’s New York Times story from last month about the rivalry between Bloomberg and this blog’s parent company, Thomson Reuters Corp.)

Here is what Grauer told The New York Times for Thursday’s paper:

[W]hile other media companies are forecasting layoffs, Bloomberg was continuing to grow. The company also announced a bonus system tied to personal and departmental goals. Terminal revenues are pegged at about $6 billion this year, for example, and if the company reaches $10 billion in sales in four years, every current employee will receive a bonus equivalent to 70 percent of their salary; reach the goal sooner, and the percentage increases; reach it later, and the percentage decreases.

Portfolio.com’s Jeff Bercovici delved into the personality aspects, noting that this may mark a shift in Bloomberg’s corporate culture. (Jeff referred to it as “famously bizarre” and noted one source’s comment: “It’s the beginning of an effort to really dial back the Kool Aid-y aspects of the company.”

Here’s more from Portfolio:

[U]ltimately more significant could be smaller adjustments meant to make Bloomberg a more rewarding place to work. These reportedly range from a newly-stated commitment to flexible work schedules to a rejiggering of one of the most distinctive features of life at Bloomberg, the program of bonuses known as ‘certs.’

And here’s a short passage illustrating life at 731 Lex:

To be sure, (Matt) Winkler is a notoriously combustible boss, and Bloomberg employees put up with a degree of regimentation and monitoring in their jobs unheard of elsewhere in the news business. One friendly acquaintance there I called while reporting this story was so terrified he might be tracked down as a leaker, he hung up on me, pausing only to berate me for using his office number.

You know what they say: loose lips might sink ships

(Lex Fenwick photo: Reuters)

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Well that’s good news that Bloomberg continues to grow despite the “layoff era”, however you have to wonder if Mike Bloomberg’s popularity with the wealthy has a lot to do with such a positive condition…

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