It was announced by the world’s leading education technology company, Blackboard Inc. that it has named Bill Ballhaus as the new Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. Jay Bhatt, Ballhaus’ predecessor will now serve as a special advisor to the Chairman.
Bhatt said, “I have a deep passion for Blackboard and its mission and vision, and I am very proud of the Blackboard team and all that we have accomplished together over the past three years. However, the evolution of the company must continue with the same pace over the coming years in order to fully realize our potential. In this context, and given the toll that the constant commute from Boston to Washington DC has taken on my family, the Board and I agree that this is the right time for my transition, and that Bill is the right leader to take Blackboard forward into its next phase of growth. I look forward to serving as a special advisor to Bill and am committed to ensuring a smooth transition.”
Most recently Ballhaus served as CEO for SRA International where he enhanced the company’s portfolio in cyber security, cloud computing, mobilization, agile system development, ERP and data analytics. Prior to that Ballhaus worked at BAE Systems, Boeing and Hughes where he held senior leadership positions.
Ballhaus said, “I am excited to join Blackboard and continue its progress in helping millions of people around the world find new ways to learn, connect, advance and improve education outcomes. The company is changing the way the education community thinks about technology and the next generation of teaching and learning tools. The entire Blackboard team has deep technology and industry experience as well as a sophisticated understanding of the systems that serve learners. I look forward to building on Blackboard’s strong foundation and being the partner that students and educators alike continue to count on to innovate on their behalf.”
Peter Wilde, a Blackboard Director and Managing Director with Providence Equity Partners, the majority owner of Blackboard and previously was SRA International’s majority shareholder said, “We are pleased with Blackboard’s progress over the past three years. Under the strategic and operational leadership of Jay Bhatt, we have shaped a new direction for Blackboard with deepened customer relationships, investment in new product development, execution of important company and technology acquisitions, strong international growth, and the recruitment of a talented team with experience in software, technology and education. As Blackboard enters its next phase of growth Jay and the Board have agreed that now is a good time to transition leadership of the company to Bill, whose operational experience as well as his desire to drive technology innovation that will improve student success will build on the Company’s current momentum. We are pleased to welcome Bill to the Blackboard team and look forward to his contributions.”
Mark HuYoung, Managing Partner of NorthWind Partners said, “While he is an outsider to the education arena, Bill is a leader that has proven his ability to achieve a successful exit for sponsors, first for Veritas with DynCorp, and, most recently for Providence with SRA. He’s in rarified air being relatively young and having already had two successful turns in PE. Bill is in a position to swing at the pitches he wants and has chosen to swing at a Providence investment that requires some attention. Along with being given the Chairman title (which is rare in PE), this speaks volumes about the positive relationship he’s established with the firm. It will be exciting to see what Bill does to shape the future of the company and strengthen it’s current position.”
Blackboard also announced that they have appointed Brian Napack, a Blackboard director since 2012 and a Senior Advisor at Providence, Vice Chairman of the Board. Napack has years of leadership experience in education, technology and publishing that he will bring to his new role.
Ballhaus said, “I am delighted that Brian will be playing an important advisory role to me. He will be a valued contributor and Blackboard and I will benefit from his extensive experience in the education industry.”