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Eccleston spars with Bloomberg

Bloomberg rarely loses senior people to anyone, unless, say, there's an opening at New York's City Hall. But Louis Eccleston, a principal architect of Hizzoner Michael Bloomberg's financial news and trading empire, has not only left the company, he's moved into the enemy camp.

Bloomberg rarely loses senior people to anyone, unless, say, there's an opening at New York's City Hall. But Louis Eccleston, a principal architect of Hizzoner Michael Bloomberg's financial news and trading empire, has not only left the company, he's moved into the enemy camp.

In February Eccleston ended a 14-year career at Bloomberg, where he was head of global sales and product strategy, to lead the New York financial services industry sales effort for Silicon Valley software company Siebel Systems. Eccleston stepped up Siebel's marketing of customer relationship management systems to Wall Street by, among other things, forging a strategic alliance with Bloomberg archrival Reuters Group. Last month the 44-year-old Eccleston moved again - to Thomson Financial, where he will be tackling Bloomberg head-on as president of a recently consolidated sales and trading group. Eccleston replaces retiring market data industry pioneer Bernard Weinstein, founder of ILX Systems, now a Thomson subsidiary.

"Siebel is a great company that offered an incredible opportunity, but Thomson has a tremendous portfolio of assets that draws on all of my expertise," says Eccleston, who oversees some 2,200 employees in ILX, AutEx, Beta Systems and related Thomson units. The new job makes him one of Bloomberg's most ferocious rivals in the competition to build a fully integrated technology platform for institutional sales, trading and wealth management operations.

Eccleston isn't Thomson's only new hire: The company has also reinforced its technology ranks with James Tousignant, formerly of Morgan Stanley and Multex.com, and Jeremy Lehman, Microsoft's chief capital markets strategist. Already, the sound bytes are flying. Bloomberg is planning to make a big splash this month with the release of a new Windows-like screen format named Launchpad. Says Eccleston, "Thomson already offers that."