PE-backed edtech company Blackboard recruits Essex as CFO

Blackboard Inc, a portfolio company of Providence Equity Partners, has named Rick Essex as chief financial officer. His appointment begins March 2, 2018. Previously, Essex worked at Survey Sampling International where he was CFO. Based in Washington, D.C., Blackboard is an educational tech company.


WASHINGTON, Feb. 6, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Blackboard Inc., a leading education technology company for teaching, learning and student engagement, today announced the appointment of Rick Essex as Chief Financial Officer. Rick will join the company on March 2, 2018 and will oversee all financial aspects of the company, including investor relations, accounting, tax, financial planning and analysis, treasury, and capital markets. He will report to the company’s Chairman, CEO and President Bill Ballhaus.

Rick joins Blackboard from Survey Sampling International (SSI), where he served as CFO since 2012. He has more than 20 years of finance and accounting experience holding senior operational and investing roles during his career. Prior to joining SSI, Rick served as a Principal at Providence Equity Partners, focusing on investments in media, communications, and information services. Earlier, he held a variety of roles in private equity, investment banking and public accounting with BCI Partners, Dillon Read & Co (now UBS) and Arthur Andersen.

“Rick’s broad financial experience will be an invaluable asset to our executive leadership team as we continue to execute our business plan and strategic initiatives,” said Ballhaus. “I’m excited to have him join our team as CFO.”

Rick earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Business Administration from Washington and Lee University and a Master of Business Administration from Columbia University.

About Blackboard
Our mission is to partner with the global education community to enable learner and institutional success, leveraging innovative technologies and services. With an unmatched understanding of the world of the learner, the most comprehensive student-success solutions, and the greatest capacity for innovation, Blackboard is education’s partner in change.