By Michael Chasen
Dear Blackboard Clients, Partners and Staff:
Fifteen years ago, my close friend Matt Pittinsky and I, not long out of college, started a company with the idea that technology could transform education. We had big ideas and lots of youthful ambition. Those dreams and that ambition grew into Blackboard – a company that today supports tens of thousands of clients around the world helping them bring teaching and learning online.
It’s been an amazing experience. I am extremely proud of the work we’ve done to date, and I’m excited about the bright future of Blackboard. After starting out as a pioneer in e-learning, we’ve expanded the company’s vision for supporting clients. We now offer a range of products and services to support education needs at all levels: from commercial to open source and from K-12 to higher education and beyond. And we will continue to make big investments in the next generation of solutions for education.
Today Blackboard is in a clear leadership position and will continue to grow and help clients in new ways for many years to come. While it has been a great privilege to lead the company for so long, the Board of Directors and I have decided that now is the right time to bring on a new CEO to help the company take the next steps to carry this vision forward.
I’m pleased to share that Jay Bhatt will join in December as Blackboard’s next President and CEO. Jay is currently President and CEO at Progress Software Corporation, a publicly traded global software company that simplifies the development, deployment and management of business applications on-premise or on any Cloud. He was previously at Autodesk, Inc. for almost 12 years, and ran Autodesk’s largest vertical business while helping that company grow to over $2 billion in revenue. Jay has an impressive background with extensive experience in the software industry. Additionally, Jay has a passion for education, which makes him a great fit for Blackboard and aligns him with the company’s mission to continue to improve and extend education globally.
In the next couple of months, I’ll be working closely with Jay, Ray Henderson, and the rest of our senior executive team to ensure a smooth transition. There will be no interruption to the work we’re doing on many fronts to support you. As you know, Blackboard has an exceptional team that is dedicated to meeting your needs.
I’d like to thank all the members of the Blackboard community – especially the clients, partners and staff that I’ve had the chance to work with over the years. We’ve done a lot to support education globally, and I’m looking forward to seeing that work continue and strengthen over time.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael L. Chasen