WASHINGTON, Jan. 4, 2016 -- Blackboard Inc., the world’s leading education technology company, today announced that William "Bill" L. Ballhaus, PhD has been named Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President. He succeeds Jay Bhatt, who has led Blackboard since 2012. Mr. Bhatt will serve as a special advisor to the chairman and is committed to ensuring a smooth transition.
Dr. Ballhaus joins Blackboard from SRA International, where as CEO he fostered a culture of innovation that emphasized anticipating customer needs, and he enhanced the company’s portfolio in cyber security, cloud computing, mobilization, agile system development, ERP and data analytics. Previously, he served as President and CEO of DynCorp International, a global government services provider. Dr. Ballhaus has also held senior leadership positions at BAE Systems, Boeing and Hughes where he led global government and commercial technology businesses, particularly focused on software and IT.
"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," said Dr. Ballhaus. "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."
"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," added Mr. Bhatt. "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."
"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,” said 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. "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."
Additional Board Appointment
The Company also announced, Brian Napack, a Blackboard director since 2012 and a Senior Advisor at Providence has been appointed Vice Chairman of the Board. Brian brings a wealth of leadership experience in education, technology, and publishing, and in the use of technology to improve outcomes in both K-12 and post-secondary education.
"I am delighted that Brian will be playing an important advisory role to me," said Bill. "He will be a valued contributor and Blackboard and I will benefit from his extensive experience in the education industry."
Additional Biographical Information on Dr. Ballhaus
Dr. Ballhaus holds a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California at Davis and Master’s and Doctorate degrees in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University. He also earned a Master’s degree in business administration from the Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA. He currently serves on the UCLA Anderson School Board of Visitors, and as Director Emeritus on the Board of the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation. Additionally, he is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
About Brian Napack
Brian Napack is a Senior Advisor with Providence Equity Partners. He currently serves on the boards of companies such as Blackboard, Ascend Learning, and Burning Glass. Prior to joining Providence in 2012, Mr. Napack was the president of Macmillan, the global publisher, whose imprints include St. Martin’s Press; Farrar Strauss & Giroux; Henry Holt; Bedford, Freeman & Worth; and Scientific American. He has held senior roles in education, publishing, and media with companies such as The Walt Disney Company, ThinkBox, and Simon & Schuster, and was a partner at L.E.K. Consulting, a leading management consulting firm. Mr. Napack also sits on the Board of Zero to Three, a national advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of infants and toddlers.