Earnings guru Chuck Hill will leave his position as director of research at Thomson First Call amid an organizational shakeup.

In a phone call, Hill, 66, said the decision to leave was "not of

his choosing" and said he had no plans to retire.

"I'd like to find another opportunity like this one was," he said. "When I first came to First Call, I'd had 22 years of experience as an industry analyst and it was a great opportunity to still use all that experience and build on it by plowing new ground."

Hill, who started at Thomson First Call in January 1992, led a group that polled Wall Street analysts to determine the consensus earnings and sales forecasts for individual companies and the

S&P 500

index as a whole.

The importance of Hill's work can be seen every time a company releases quarterly results. When firms successfully meet or beat First Call projections, their share prices can take off. A miss, however, can send a stock tanking.

In a press release, Thomson Financial, a unit of

Thomson Corp.


, said it has formed a new research group that will coordinate research activities, media outreach and support across the company.

"Chuck has been a valuable contributor in building the First Call franchise and we are grateful for his long association with Thomson," said Sarah Dunn, chief content officer and executive vice president at Thomson Financial. "We wish him well in his future endeavors."

Hill will be replaced by Michael Thomson, formerly a market strategist at RiskMetrics Group. Thomson will assume the position March 15 and will report to Dunn.

Prior to working at RiskMetrics, Thomson was co-president of BulldogResearch, a company he co-founded in 1999. Previously, he worked in private banking at Lehman Brothers Private Client Services Group and J.P. Morgan Securities' Private Client Group.

Thompson will lead a group of researchers. They include Craig Columbus, who monitors corporate insider trading and governance issues; Jesse Reyes, who focuses on the private equity and venture markets; and Richard Peterson, who covers initial public offerings and mergers and acquisitions.

Joe Cooper, manager of quantitative research, will continue to run the research analyst team for earnings estimates and will report to Thompson.

"As a consolidated team, we are looking forward to providing the financial marketplace with innovative and insightful market observations that underscore the value of high quality data and robust analytics," said Michael Thomson.