Renaissance Learning, which is backed by Permira, said Wednesday that John Lynch was named CEO effective Nov. 5. Lynch succeeds Glenn James, who by mutual agreement with company’s board has left to pursue other opportunities. Steve Schmidt, Renaissance’s president and COO, will serve as interim CEO until Lynch joins.
Renaissance Learning, Inc., a leading provider of technology-based school improvement and student assessment programs for K12 schools, today announced that John (“Jack”) J. Lynch, Jr. has been named Chief Executive Officer, effective November 5, 2012. He will succeed Glenn James, who by mutual agreement with the Company’s Board of Directors has left the company to pursue other opportunities. Renaissance Learning’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Steve Schmidt, will serve as interim CEO until Mr. Lynch joins the Company.
Mr. Lynch, 53, has over 20 years of management experience in the software and information industry, and he is a highly respected leader in the field of education technology. He has a proven track record of launching and growing technology-driven information businesses, and he has been highly successful in the education technology sector since 1999, when he was the founding CEO of bigchalk.com and created an education network serving 40,000 schools and providing teachers, students, and parents with content, curriculum, assessment, and professional development resources. While later serving as President and CEO of the Pearson School Technology Group, Mr. Lynch led the turnaround of an instructional software business targeting “at-risk” student populations with market leading instructional design, animation, and adaptive reasoning software, and helped to create the first ever digital textbook to be adopted by the State of California. Most recently, Mr. Lynch was a member of the Executive Board of Wolters Kluwer, a global leader in professional information services with more than €3.4 billion in annual revenue and more than 19,000 employees worldwide. He played an important role in leading global shared services and in building the company’s global technology platform. He also managed the execution of an operational excellence program which increased global capabilities required to move the company from a professional publisher to a global information services firm.
“As Renaissance Learning moves forward into its next phase of growth and development, we are thrilled to bring in Jack to lead the Company and its talented team of dedicated professionals,” said Brian Ruder, a member of the Renaissance Learning Board of Directors, and Permira partner. “Jack is a world-class executive with proven leadership skills, deep strategic and operational experience, and significant industry contacts and expertise. He shares our strategic vision for the future of the Company, and we believe that he is ideally suited to lead Renaissance Learning to the next level.”
Ruder continued, “We thank Glenn for his exemplary service and for his leadership in helping to bring Renaissance Learning to where it is today, having just completed its biggest order quarter ever in September 2012, and wish him well in his future endeavors.”
“I am enthusiastic about joining Renaissance Learning, a company that is not only improving educational experiences for so many students but one that is also significantly raising the bar for innovation and quality in the dynamic cross-sector of education and technology,” said Mr. Lynch. “With its exceptional products, strong brand, and highly regarded customer service, Renaissance Learning is well positioned to capitalize on burgeoning opportunities to enhance and improve education in the classroom through the delivery and implementation of innovative technologies. I look forward to working closely with Permira, the Renaissance Learning Board, Steve Schmidt, and the rest of the management team to ensure a smooth transition and help drive the Company’s future growth and continued success in accelerating learning.”
Mr. Lynch was appointed to the Executive Board of Wolters Kluwer in April 2007. Prior to his appointment to the Board, Mr. Lynch was Senior Vice President, Business Development since June 2006, responsible for identifying and investigating cross-divisional business opportunities, with particular emphasis on software and web-based enterprise applications and workflow tools. From 2003 to 2006, Mr. Lynch was President and CEO of the Pearson School Technology Group within the Pearson Education School Companies, overseeing software businesses that included Pearson School Systems, Pearson Digital Learning and the Family Education Network, as well as central software development, business development, and strategic initiatives. From 1999 to 2003, he was founding CEO and a board member of bigchalk.com, a developer and marketer of products and services for the K12 educational community that is now part of Proquest LLC. From 1996 to 1999, Mr. Lynch served as general manager of artificial intelligence software company Jnana Technologies (now Neota Logic). From 1992 to 1996, he served as CEO of CCH Legal Information Services, a leading provider of corporate registered agent and entity management services, trademark and UCC search and filing services.
In addition to his board responsibilities at bigchalk.com, Mr. Lynch previously served as a Trustee of the Boston Classical Orchestra. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Boston University.
About Renaissance Learning, Inc.
Renaissance Learning is a leading provider of technology-based school improvement and student assessment programs for K12 schools. Renaissance Learning’s tools provide daily formative assessment and periodic progress-monitoring technology to enhance core curriculum, support differentiated instruction, and personalize practice in reading, writing and math. Renaissance Learning products help educators make the practice component of their existing curriculum more effective by providing tools to personalize practice and easily manage the daily activities for students of all levels. As a result, teachers using Renaissance Learning products accelerate learning, get more satisfaction from teaching, and help students achieve higher test scores on state and national tests.
Permira is a European private equity firm with global reach. The Permira funds, raised from pension funds and other institutions, make long-term investments in companies with the ambition of transforming their performance and driving sustainable growth.
Founded in 1985, the firm advises funds with a total committed capital of approximately €20 billion. Over the past 26 years, the Permira funds have made nearly 200 private equity investments, over 30% of which have been in the core sector of Technology, Media & Telecom (“TMT”). A company owned by the Permira funds acquired Renaissance Learning in October 2011.
For more information visit: www.permira.com.
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