Campus Technology: Interview with New Blackboard CEO Bill Ballhaus

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When Bill Ballhaus took over the helm at Blackboard many were openly willing to give him some advice.  Michael Feldstein said Blackboard was facing issues with customers who were “increasingly unhappy with the support they are getting on the current platform,” who were “unclear about how they will be affected by future development plans,” and who are “unconvinced that Blackboard will deliver a next-generation product in the near future that will be a compelling alternative to the competitors in the market.”  While Joshua Kim at Inside Higher Ed said he should “bet the company on analytics.”

Now Campus Technology has set down with Ballhaus for an interview.  The interview is available here.

Blackboard Names New CEO, Bill Ballhaus

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Katie Blot, senior vice president for corporate strategy and business development at Blackboard, announced on the Blackboard blog that Bill Ballhaus was replacing Jay Bhatt as CEO.  She wrote:

Today, we are fortunate to be joined by a great leader – our new CEO Bill Ballhaus. Bill’s philosophy is directly in line with ours and his skill set is going to help us reach new heights. While this is certainly a change for Blackboard, rest assured that the heart of our mission and strategy will remain the same. . . .

 

So we have defined our strategy and now, with Bill joining the company, we’ll continue to execute against it. Bill has accomplished much over his career and his operational expertise has led various businesses to great success. He and I share a fundamental belief that if you make your first priority taking care of your customers, the business results will follow. So, under his leadership Blackboard will continue our focus on doing just that. We will deliver next generation teaching and learning capabilities to the market, continue our international growth, and improve even further the way we serve our customers and strive to exceed their expectations. Bill is uniquely positioned to help us execute against these priorities, and with him we’ll achieve significant advances for our customers and for Blackboard.

Here are some early comments: