David Thomson

David Kenneth Roy Thomson was born on June 12, 1957. He is a Canadian/British hereditary peer and media magnate. Upon the death of his father in 2006, Thomson would become the chairman of Thomson Corporation, and also inherited his father’s British title, Baron Thomson of Fleet. After the acquisition of Reuters in 2008, Thomson became the chairman of the merged entity, Thomson Reuters.

Early life

David Thomson was born in Toronto, Ontario, and was the eldest child of Kenneth Thomson, the 2nd Baron of Thomson Fleet, and his wife, Marilyn Lavis. He also has a sister named Taylor Thomson, and his brother Peter Thomson is a race car driver.

In 1978, Thomson received a Bachelor of Arts (which he subsequently upgraded to a Master of Arts) at Selwyn College, Cambridge, where he studied history. As a child, he attended both Upper Canada College and the Hall school.


Thomson started his business career as a junior associate at McLeod Young Weir in Toronto. He left the firm to enter his family’s business, working a number of positions in companies controlled by the Thomas family. Thomas was a manager of The Bay store at Cloverdale Mall in Etobicoke and the president of Zellers. In order to develop his independence, Thomson founded the real estate firm Osmington Incorporated, owned and operated outside of the Thomson empire. Osmington manages commercial real estate assets on behalf of institutional shareholders, including the Thomson empire. In 2010, Osmington sold its stake in eight retail properties to the Canada Pension Plan for $336 million. Osmington is a major investor in FarmersEdge, a precision agriculture company.

Osmington also partners with True North Sports Entertainment, owners of the National Hockey League’s Winnipeg Jets and the Canada Life Centre in downtown Winnipeg. Osmington is redeveloping the retail space of Toronto’s Union Station. Thomson’s investment activities are managed through the Toronto hedge fund, Morgan Bay Capital.

According to a plan devised decades ago by the Thomson Corporation founder Roy Thomson, when Kenneth died in June 2006, control of the family fortune was passed on to David. Following Thomson Reuters’ sale of a controlling stake in its financial business in 2018, Thomson would express frustrations about having to work in the family business. He is currently engaged in discussions with family members to leave the family business, Thomson Reuters, to focus on his art and real estate business.

“David, my grandson, will have to take his part in the running of the Organisation and David’s son, too,” Roy Thomson wrote in his 1975 autobiography. “With the fortune that we will leave to them go also responsibilities. These Thomson boys that come after Ken are not going to be able, even if they want to, to shrug off these responsibilities.” As well as a businessman, Thomson is also an avid art collector and owns works by Rembrandt, J. M. W. Turner, Paul Klee, Hammershoi, Edvard Munch, Patrick Heron, Joseph Beuys, E. L. Kirchner, and Egon Schiele. He owns the world’s largest collection of paintings and drawings by English painter John Constable. During an interview with Geraldine Norman in The Independent in 1994, Thomson was quoted saying he bought his first Constable drawing at 19, giving the seller “an oil painting in exchange and quite a lot of money.”

Norman described him as a “fanatical collector,” and described how he “fell in love” with Constable’s unique style when he was a child. In his twenties, Thomson stunned the art world with two monumental purchases. In 1984, he got J. M. W. Turner’s spectacular “Seascape: Folkestone” for a record price of £7.3 million. The following year, Thomson, at the age of 27, broke another world record when he bought Rembrandt’s monumental “Christ Presented to the People,” from 1655, for a record £561,000. Thomson sold both of these masterpieces within a few years during the 1980s financial crisis.

Thomson operates his collecting activities through his personal Thomson Works of Art. He also funds the Archive of Modern Conflict, based out of London. Specialists within the archive purchase photography collections worldwide and also run a book publishing arm, AMC Books.

Thomson is a father of six children from four separate mothers. His first wife, Mary Lou La Prairie, had two daughters: Thyra Nicole and Tessa Lys. With his second wife, Laurie Ludwick, Thomas has one son, Benjamin, born after Thomson left the marriage. With actress Kelly Rowan, Thomson has one daughter. With his partner Severine Nackers, an employee of Sotheby’s in London, Thomson has two daughters Ottilie and Elodie. Thomas was estranged from his eldest daughter, Thyra, for approximately 5 years, with Thyra eventually suing her father over the mismanagement of family trusts. The case was settled out of court in 2017. Three of his children live in London, K, where Thomson has several homes. Thomson has rarely provided interviews to the press and generally maintains a low public profile.

Thomson has rarely given interviews to the press and maintains a low public profile. “The only substantial interview he has given was to James FitzGerald, who wrote a book about the elite private school (Upper Canada College) they both attended in Toronto”, according to a July 3, 2006, article in The New York Times. “In his comments to Mr. FitzGerald 12 years ago, David had little positive to say about many people in the business world”. According to the interview, Thomson said: “When you try to live a more balanced life, traditional businessmen think that you are not a real man. But who is not the real man? You are telling me? You have not taken a weekend with your wife, you have no spare time that you use constructively, you do not have any hobbies, you do not know how to spell Mozart. And here you are telling me that I am weak?”

Thomson lives alone in a private residence in the Rosedale neighbourhood.

Net Worth

$47.7 Billion