Today we’ve announced some changes to the leadership team at Bb. The news is that I’ll be transitioning to a new role on Blackboard’s Board of Directors.
What does this mean for Bb?
It means I’ll no longer manage day-to-day operations for our Academic Platforms group. In handing off the day to day, I’ll take a new role that will provide me a perch with broader purview across the whole of Bb. I’ve been enlisted to think about the whole of Bb and its pieces, and how they might come together to produce the most coherent and effective global education company that we can design. I’m looking forward to learning more about markets adjacent to the LMS arena that I’ve spent much of my professional focus on. Removing these operating boundaries will present me with welcomed new challenges. I’m hopeful that they’ll also inspire creative insight and fusion of ideas about how Bb might help solve education’s hardest problems more ably for our clients.
Along with my new role, there’s a new group of leaders stepping forward in key operating roles at Bb. In effect, they’ll be dividing a general management role into more specialized areas of practice. Recently introduced executives Gary Lang and Mark Strassman are taking on product development and product management as we synthesize these functions across the company. Our senior executive for Education Services, Katie Blot, will take on the product support organization. Maurice Heiblum will expand his scope from leading the Collaborate organization to a broader product lineup across higher education.
In each case I believe these individuals are well equipped for these roles, and that we share a similar outlook on what’s important and how the company can continue to build on the positive momentum we’ve established in recent years. Each brings talent and experience that’s different than my own. Their specialized skills and insight are well demonstrated, and I’m confident that they’ll inform and energize the teams they take on. Beyond their vocational skills I’m confident in their shared values around education, client service and our citizenship in the industry. They’re hard working, straight shooters, and very deserving of my endorsement in their new roles.
Now, for me: While my role changes my approach will not. I’ll carry to the boardroom the “Wooden Doctrine” and the lasting business value of great service, investment in quality, and transparent communication. I’ve always had a core focus on product strategy and related policy, and I'll apply it to product roadmaps and their paths through evolving terrain. I’ll remain a Bb representative in areas of education standards and policy, sustaining a new direction around the importance industry citizenship plays at our firm.
As I enter this next chapter of my tenure at Bb, I’m forced to seek perspective about this period of four plus years. I arrived at a pivotal time, when Bb faced a combination of its own growing pains and an education market beginning to experience a powerful new set of disruptive forces after a period of relative calm. The company that had helped create our industry was distracted by overreach, and needed a friend with a firm hand. But I knew there were good bones at Bb in the form of enlightened people, committed to education, and that there’d be many rooting for me. The early days tried my resolve and skills as a leader fully. But I had great cooperation and found new levels of insight into education and conviction about how to run a business. Client satisfaction has risen sharply. Our box scores in industry contests have improved. And our reputation as a creative products company is growing. I’m pleased that we’re both more appreciated and more competitive than we were just a few years ago.
The work’s not done yet, of course, and I’m looking forward to attacking it from a different perspective and in the company of new leaders mentioned here whom I believe will help us accelerate our product strategy and innovation agenda beyond anything we’ve accomplished to date. With the benefit of hard lessons learned and our momentum gathered, we’re entering the deepest examination of where we can add value in delivering the social good of education. I’m glad to remain a part of that, and will do my best to provide guidance that will make Blackboard an even better partner to it’s clients, a stronger citizen of the industry, and ultimately a more important company in education in the years ahead.
Director, Board of Directors