Blackboard CEO Resigns and Rumblings in the LMS Academic Market

In a major change for Higher Education Learning Management system software CEO Michael Chasen steps down. With turmoil at Sakai, continued IT issues scaling concerns with Moodle, and challenges with Instructure’s Canvas data security and FERPA compliancy, [1], [2] whats next for academic software systems??? Can new open source players like Adrenna, leveraging Drupal play a role in the future of the academic LMS, or will new corporate LMS’s begin to enter the space of academia?

Michael Chasen Steps Down as Blackboard CEO, Jay Bhatt, CEO of Progress Software, Tapped to Lead Company

Oct 15, 2012

WASHINGTON, Oct. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Michael L. Chasen has announced that he will step down as President, CEO and Director of Blackboard Inc. at the end of the year. Chasen will be replaced by Jay Bhatt, currently President and CEO of Progress Software.

Chasen co-founded Blackboard in 1997 and oversaw the company’s rapid growth from just a handful of employees and a few clients to a workforce of over 3,000 that now serves tens of thousands of clients worldwide. Chasen also oversaw the successful completion of more than 20 acquisitions and the company’s transition back to private ownership in 2011 after its acquisition by Providence Equity Partners for $1.7 billion. In the last year Chasen has led a number of strategic initiatives including the merger with Edline, a leading provider of complementary K-12 technology solutions, and the launch of a new focus on open source supported by the acquisitions of Moodlerooms and NetSpot.

“I’ve had an incredible experience at Blackboard, and I’m extremely proud of the work we’ve done to support education,” said Chasen. “We’ve been focused on expanding the vision for how Blackboard can support clients and positioning the company for growth, including a concentrated effort to build the company’s internal infrastructure in the last year. With that vision now coming into focus and our infrastructure in place, now is a good time to bring onboard a new CEO to help the company take the next steps to capitalize on the global education opportunity.”

“Michael has done a wonderful job in creating and growing Blackboard, and the leadership position he created for Blackboard was the primary reason Providence Equity Partners was attracted to the company and acquired it last year,” said Steve Alesio, Chairman of Blackboard’s Board of Directors. “We are fortunate to have Jay, with his exceptional experience in the software industry and track record of innovation and leadership, join us to lead Blackboard into its next chapter of growth. He shares Blackboard’s commitment to excellence, and we are excited to work with him to continue to innovate and provide top quality software and solutions to the rapidly evolving education space.”

Bhatt recently announced that he would step down in December as President, CEO and Director of Progress Software, a publicly traded global software company. Before joining Progress, Bhatt served as Senior Vice President of Autodesk Inc., where he ran the global Architecture, Engineering and Construction Solutions Business, and prior to that he was responsible for Autodesk’s Corporate Development, Business Development and Strategic Planning. Bhatt joined Autodesk in 2001 when it acquired Buzzsaw.com, a cloud-based software company where Bhatt served as Chief Financial Officer and head of Corporate and Business Development

“I’m honored to join such a talented company and to lead the next phase of Blackboard’s growth,” said Bhatt. “Blackboard has an excellent team and a committed global customer base.  Education is a passion of mine, and there is a tremendous opportunity for technology to continue to improve and extend education globally. I’m excited to help Blackboard expand its support of institutions and organizations that are pursuing this important mission.”

For more information about Blackboard, please visit http://www.blackboard.com.

About Blackboard Inc.
Blackboard Inc. is a global leader in enterprise technology and innovative solutions that improve the experience of millions of students and learners around the world every day. Blackboard’s solutions allow thousands of higher education, K-12, professional, corporate, and government organizations to extend teaching and learning online, facilitate campus commerce and security, and communicate more effectively with their communities. Founded in 1997, Blackboard is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Any statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects for Blackboard represent the Company’s views as of the date of this press release. Actual results may differ materially as a result of various important factors. The Company anticipates that subsequent events and developments will cause the Company’s views to change. However, while the Company may elect to update these statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so.

SOURCE Blackboard Inc.

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