A Reuters obit touches very briefly on the life and passing of former Reuters Managing Director Glen Renfrew, who brought the company into the limelight of financial information services in the 1980s, bringing its revenues up 100x in the process. There was the matter of good timing, of course - many profited in that era from applying computer technologies to financial content distribution - but there was also the matter of the man himself, someone who was willing to look at the world in a very different way and to put in place many highly advanced communications capabilities that the rest of the world is just beginning to appreciate in full. Here we are today bubbling about the wonders of "markets as conversations" while Renfrew made it a reality with online conversational dealing systems twenty years ago.
Like most young executives at Reuters I had to do a presentation to Renfrew when he visited our local office. I came prepared to the nines, slides in hand, walked into the conference room, reached across the table to shake his hand - and tripped over the electrical cord for the slide projector in the process. Well, it happens. But what was interesting was the look in Renfrew's eyes when I gathered myself up from the floor. He had been there, you knew. Carry on, John, the eyes seemed to say, I'd like to hear what you're about. And so I did carry on. He asked very intelligent and honest questions and seemed to be a truly appreciative man. Humility and vision do not always go hand in hand, but for a period of time there was a major publisher that was blessed by a man who had both. Hats off, all, the Baron has passed.