Michael E. Hansen
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Strategy Officer
Chief Product Officer
Michael E. Hansen became Chief Executive Officer of Cengage Learning in September of 2012 and he oversees all aspects of the global business. Mr. Hansen is focused on the evolution of the publishing industry, including the transition the publishing industry is making from print to digital and the development of new product lines for a digital world. He has deep experience in equipping organizations with the structure necessary to support these transitions. As a thought leader in the information services sector, Mr. Hansen has an extensive track record in developing successful business models.
In the four years prior to joining Cengage Learning, he served as CEO of Elsevier Health Sciences, a division of Reed Elsevier. During his tenure, he developed and implemented a successful print-to-digital transition and accelerated new electronic product development.
Prior to Elsevier Health Sciences, Mr. Hansen served as President and CEO of Harcourt Assessment which was then the education arm of Reed Elsevier. Harcourt was unprofitable when he came aboard. Yet in a relatively short period of time, Mr. Hansen and his team were able to rejuvenate Harcourt’s growth and restore its profitability by combining new investments and undertaking intelligent cost cutting measures. This resulted in a lucrative sale of the business.
Early in his career, Mr. Hansen was Executive Vice President of Operational Excellence at Bertelsmann, a $20B global media company. In that capacity, he was responsible for the group-wide performance improvement initiative (BEX), setting the future strategic direction for the business. Prior to Bertelsmann, he served briefly as head of international operations at Proxicom, an internet focused technology company. Mr. Hansen spent the first 11 years of his career with the Boston Consulting Group in New York, ultimately becoming Partner and Co-Chairman of the e-Business and Media Practice.
In addition, Mr. Hansen is currently a Board Member of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS). Mr. Hansen holds a Master of Law degree from the University of Bonn in Germany and an MBA from Columbia University in New York.
Fernando Bleichmar is Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer for Cengage Learning, serving on the Executive Team and reporting to the Chief Executive Officer. In this role, he is responsible for working closely with the executive team on the continuing evolution of Cengage Learning strategy and the oversight of corporate development and competitive intelligence.
Prior to joining Cengage Learning, Mr. Bleichmar served as Chief Operating Officer at Altisource Technology Services and as Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at Elsevier Health Sciences. While with Elsevier, Mr. Bleichmar worked on a wide variety of strategy initiatives in higher education and information services focused on the digital transformation of the business – including go-to-market execution, pricing and commercialization strategy, portfolio evaluation, customer intelligence and acquisitions.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Bleichmar served eight years at The Boston Consulting Group, where he specialized in information services and corporate development, and also worked as COO and Advisor for Centro Eleia, a professional university focused on psychology studies in Mexico.
Mr. Bleichmar holds an MBA from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He is based out of the Cengage Learning Boston, MA office.
Alexander Broich is the President of International for Cengage Learning, serving on the executive team and reporting to Michael Hansen, Chief Executive Officer. In this role, he is responsible for the growth and development of the company’s international operations.
Mr. Broich brings to Cengage Learning more than 20 years of corporate and operational senior-level management experience, specializing in building, growing and developing businesses in changing environments. He has a successful track record in setting up and growing new technology driven businesses, is skilled in strategic planning and marketing, and is familiar with intercultural business practices and communications.
Prior to joining Cengage Learning, Mr. Broich served as the President of International at Pearson Clinical and Talent Assessment for five years. At Pearson, he drove the international business to double-digit growth, while significantly increasing profitability and expanding into new territories. He led the strategy development and implementation of the conversion from traditional print assessments into digital solutions, and was a member of Pearson’s Innovation Board.
Earlier in his career, Broich was the Senior Vice President of Corporate Development at Bertelsmann, Inc. for six years where he implemented development strategies in China, England, Germany and France, among other duties. He also held management positions with Bertelsmann Online Ltd., Health Online Services Multimedica, Bertelsmann AG, and Headwork Consulting.
Mr. Broich holds a PhD in Business Administration from Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich. He is based out of the Cengage Learning Boston, MA office.
Ken Carson is the Chief People Officer and General Counsel for Cengage Learning. In this role, he is dually responsible for all aspects of Human Resources within the organization and managing the legal affairs of Cengage Learning's businesses worldwide. As Chief People Officer, he oversees and provides HR–related consultation and guidance to business leaders and employees, and ensures that the company’s global HR strategies and programs are aligned with overall business goals.
In his General Counsel capacity, he acts as Secretary to the Board of Directors, and also is responsible for establishing company–wide best practices in balancing legal risk and business priorities.
Mr. Carson also takes a leading role in the development of strategies for the acquisition and maintenance of intellectual property in support of growth initiatives. At the industry level, Mr. Carson is a member of the Association of American Publishers' Copyright Committee, providing an opportunity to influence industry–wide issues affecting Cengage Learning.
Mr. Carson joined The Thomson Corporation as Associate General Counsel in 1994, and was appointed Assistant General Counsel in 1998. In those roles, he worked for all Thomson businesses, including Thomson Learning, gaining broad experience in all aspects of information publishing. He became General Counsel of Thomson Learning, now Cengage Learning, in 2001 after acting as Thomson's lead in–house counsel in the Harcourt, Inc. acquisition.
Mr. Carson joined Thomson from Maxwell Macmillan, where he was assistant general counsel from 1989 to 1994. Prior to that, from 1985 to 1988, he was associated with the law firm of Gordon Feinblatt Rothman Hoffberger & Hollander, in Baltimore, Maryland. He also served as a law clerk at the Delaware Chancery Court from 1984 to 1985.
Mr. Carson received his law degree from the University of Maryland in 1984. He is based out of the Cengage Learning Boston, MA office.
Jim Donohue is the Chief Product Officer for Cengage Learning, reporting directly to the Chief Executive Officer. In this role, he oversees the development, ideation and creation of all Cengage Learning products. He also is responsible for establishing and maintaining an open collaboration between product development and the company’s users to ensure that all of Cengage Learning’s products meet and exceed the expectations of customers.
Prior to joining Cengage Learning, Mr. Donohue served as Managing Director of the Global Clinical Reference group at Elsevier Health Sciences. Among his key responsibilities was the management and coordination of Elsevier's ClinicalKey commercial product launch. Mr. Donohue began working at Elsevier in 2006 as Managing Director for Science and Technology Books and then as the Senior Vice President and General Manager of MD Consult.
Earlier in his career, he founded and served as Chief Executive Officer of NetDoctorUK, the U.K.'s leading internet health website and the fifth most recognized website in the U.K., and went on to serve as CEO of NetDoctor Europe. Mr. Donohue has also served as Vice President of EMEA at Times Mirror International Publishers, President of Simon and Schuster European Professional Publishing Group and Vice President of Marketing Higher Ed at Harper Collins.
Mr. Donohue holds a B.A. Honors in Political Science and Rhetoric from the University of Arizona, and an M.A. in Rhetoric and Public Address from the University of Iowa. He is based out of the Cengage Learning San Francisco, CA office.
Sandi Kirshner is the Chief Marketing Officer for Cengage Learning, serving on the executive team and reporting to Kevin Stone, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer. In this role, she is responsible for all marketing and communications activities within the company.
Ms. Kirshner joined Cengage Learning from Pearson, where she served in various roles for a large part of her career. Most recently, she was Executive Vice President for Higher Education Policy and a member of the Higher Education Executive Committee, The Pearson Policy Steering Committee and Chairperson of the Accessibility Governing Board. Prior to that, she served as Chief Marketing Officer for Higher Education, President of the Addison Wesley Higher Education Group and President of Allyn and Bacon.
These diverse publishing roles, have positioned her as a leader uniquely suited to drive marketing and communications efforts for a company transitioning to the digital space. Ms. Kirshner accomplished many ground-breaking wins and pioneered programs within the digital space and has a deep sense of the challenges and opportunities that exist in today’s higher education marketplace. She also understands how to develop and implement branding, messaging and campaigns that produce maximum impact while building relationships with key stakeholders - including students, faculty, authors and thought leaders.
Ms. Kirshner holds an MS in Marketing Communication and a BS in Journalism, both from Boston University. She is based out of the Cengage Learning Boston, MA office.
John Leahy is the Chief Financial Officer for Cengage Learning, serving on the Executive Team and reporting to the Chief Executive Officer. In this role, he oversees all financial and operations functions for the company.
An experienced and respected executive leader in Boston and on Wall Street, Mr. Leahy joined Cengage Learning from Care.com, the world’s largest online marketplace for finding and managing family care, where he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. As part of the leadership team at Care.com, he was instrumental in leading the company’s initial public offering in 2014, oversaw acquisitions and helped to drive significant growth in revenue.
Previously, he was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of iRobot, a pure play robotics firm which develops and markets consumer and defense products, and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Keane, Inc., which provided business consulting and outsourcing services to Fortune 1000 companies. Earlier in his career, he worked with PepsiCo in a variety of domestic and international management assignments spanning 17 years, including Vice President, Global Strategic Planning and M&A.
Mr. Leahy holds a B.S. in Finance from Merrimack College and an M.B.A from the Boston College Graduate School of Management. He is based out of the Cengage Learning headquarters in Boston, MA.
George Moore is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for Cengage Learning. In this role, he is responsible for shaping Cengage Learning’s long-term technology vision and driving innovation across the company during a transformative time.
As a member of Cengage Learning’s Executive Team, Mr. Moore reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer. In addition to his role as CTO, Mr. Moore serves as the Head of House in Cengage Learning’s corporate headquarters. In this capacity, he leads all local employee engagement efforts.
With a passion for revolutionizing the education and publishing industries through the use of technology, Mr. Moore spearheads strategic partnerships and collaborations with faculty and students to drive a student-centric model of digital innovation. Driven by this focus on student success, Mr. Moore leads integrated teams of technology and education experts to work side-by-side to deliver cutting-edge digital innovations through technology platforms and tools.
Under Mr. Moore’s leadership, Cengage Learning’s MindTap learning platform has emerged as the company’s flagship technology. Cengage Learning now offers MindTap products for over 450 courses spanning the vast majority of disciplines. Cengage Learning continues to add critical features to the MindTap platform in a disciplined, prioritized way allowing for significant course-level features and user personalization.
Prior to joining Cengage Learning, Mr. Moore served as CTO of Elsevier Health Science, where he was recruited to transform the world’s leading medical publishing company into a medical information company. During his tenure, he was instrumental in developing ClinicalKey, one of the most innovative and successful product introductions in the health-care information industry.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Moore served as the SVP of Product Development for Thomson Reuter's Healthcare organization, where he led the consolidation effort of the company’s disparate acquisitions into a consolidated product development organization. Mr. Moore has also held various roles with a number of commercial software companies. Most prominently, he was VP of Product Development at Liquent, the industry leader in Pharmaceutical Publishing and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. At Liquent, he led the company’s efforts in defining how pharmaceutical companies would develop their information management systems that support drug discovery and approval, and also played a leading role in the sale and integration of Liquent into Thomson Reuters.
Kevin Stone is the Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for Cengage Learning, reporting directly to the Chief Executive Officer. In this role, he is responsible for all aspects of Sales and Marketing across the company, which have been integrated into one team under his new leadership role.
Mr. Stone joins Cengage Learning with more than 22 years of experience in the publishing industry, most recently serving as Chief Sales Officer of the Higher Education unit at Pearson. In this position, Mr. Stone played a strategic role in leading a team of over 900 sales professionals that consistently outperformed the industry. He played a central role in multiple sales reorganizations and realignments, and actively partnered with the CEO and executive team to shape and execute sales strategies and participate in strategic planning.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Stone worked at various subsidiaries of Pearson and held positions in editorial, marketing, technology and sales, helping him to gain insight into the many working parts that join together to create a world class sales and marketing team. Throughout his diverse career, he has gained invaluable insight into many aspects of publishing, education technology and higher education.
Mr. Stone is based in Boston, MA. He holds an MBA from Boston University’s Graduate School of Management and a BS in Marketing from Oswego State University of New York.