The chairman and former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Thomson Reuters Foundation– James C. Smith – is a top investor and board member for pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer. He was elected to the board in 2014, as well as joining Pfizer’s Corporate Governance and Science and Technology Committees. The news raises serious conflict of interest concerns as corporate media outlets such as Reuters continue to promote Pfizer products, defend pharmaceuticals companies from criticism, and move to silence skeptics.
Smith is currently the Chairman of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the London-based charity known for providing news and information to billions of readers. He was also the President, Chief Executive Officer, and on the Board of Directors of Reuters from 2012 until his retirement in 2020.
He has worked with the organization since 1987, when they were known as the Thomson Newspaper group. He has also served as the CEO of the professional division, overseeing legal, tax and accounting, and intellectual property and science businesses. Later, he went on to lead the North America operations for the news organization.
In an official statement at the time, Ian Read, Pfizer’s chairman and CEO said: “We are pleased to have Jim Smith join Pfizer’s Board of Directors. He brings leadership and operational and international business experience to Pfizer’s Board, and will be an excellent asset to the company. The addition of Jim to our Board helps ensure that Pfizer will continue to benefit from a breadth and variety of experience.”
In the last year alone, Reuters has published more than 22,000 articles mentioning Pfizer. The company has only published 8,191 articles related to Moderna, and 18,000 related to Johnson & Johnson. Many of the articles about Johnson & Johnson were negative in sentiment, unlike their Pfizer reporting.
Smith is also linked to the World Economic Forum (WEF), where he serves on the board of Partnering Against Corruption Initiative. He’s also a member of WEF’s International Business Advisory Boards of British American Business and the Atlantic Council.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Smith also holds the position of President & CEO of Refinitiv Transaction Services, Ltd, who boasted $6.25 billion in revenue with more than 40,000 customers and 400,000 end users across 190 countries. Refinitiv was a member of the Thomson Reuters Group until 2018.