Hansen Tapped as Next Cengage Learning CEO

September 10, 2012 | Volume 43, Number 18

Cengage Learning (Stamford, CT) tapped a Reed Elsevier (London and New York) executive to be its next chief executive, naming Michael Hansen in August as CEO. Hansen, who begins his new post Sept. 17, succeeds Ron Dunn, who becomes executive chairman, succeeding David Shaffer, who is retiring Sept. 30.

Hansen since 2008 has been CEO of Elsevier Health Sciences, which generated $1.57 billion in revenue in 2011. In the two years before he moved to Elsevier Health Sciences, Hansen was president and CEO of Harcourt Assessment before Reed Elsevier sold that and the Harcourt International Education businesses to Pearson (London and New York) in a $950 million transaction in 2007, part of the overall plan of Reed Elsevier to get out of the K-12 education business.

One of Hansen’s chief assets cited by Harcourt management when he was tapped to lead the assessment business was his track record in turning around performance.

Hansen comes to Cengage, which generated just under $2 billion in revenue in fiscal 2012, ended June 30, amid persistent concerns about the second-largest college publisher’s debt load, a changing college market and a depressed library market and a drive toward the goal of an initial public offering in the next several years.

He is steeped in professional education and reference publishing. Elsevier Health Sciences, a medical information provider, publishes more than 700 health sciences journals and one of the leading medical reference works, Gray’s Anatomy. Elsevier also provides education and training resources in nursing and allied health.

Hansen also brings experience in transforming an essentially print business to a digital one—online solutions and electronic products accounted for nearly 40% of the group’s revenue in 2011. ■

We welcome your views. To submit a letter to the editor, send us an email to press@simbainformation.com.