Houghton Mifflin Announces Changes to Its Strategic and Technology Leadership

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has announced a series of leadership changes, including the appointment of the former finance chief at McGraw-Hill Education as HMH’s first-ever chief revenue officer.

Mike Evans, who served as chief financial officer at McGraw-Hill Education, will become HMH’s chief revenue officer, the company said Monday. Earlier in his career, Evans worked as chief financial officer and chief operating officer at Renaissance Learning – now called Renaissance — alongside current Houghton Mifflin CEO Jack Lynch, who formerly led Renaissance Learning.

Evans also held previous roles at Pearson and other education companies, and while at McGraw-Hill Education he played a key role in its plans to merge with Cengage, HMH said in a statement.

As chief revenue officer a HMH, Evans will oversee a new customer-focused group that will encompass a series of teams, including the sales, marketing, and customer success divisions, Lynch said in an interview. The company said the change will bring “unified orchestration among the intertwined teams responsible for customer success.”

The new group will focus on “the entire life cycle, from prospect to customer to renewing the customer,” Lynch told EdWeek Market Brief.

In addition, HMH is appointing Peter George to lead a new technology-solutions group that will essentially combine its engineering, IT, learning science, and platform divisions, which have heretofore reported to different leaders within the organization. George, who has been chief engineering officer at HMH, will become chief technology officer.

Creating a new, unified group responsible for all those functions matters, “because learning science and product development is extremely important, if you want your platforms to essentially become an efficacy engine,” said Lynch.

“It was a way to combine all those disparate elements under one leadership.”

The news comes less than a week after Houghton Mifflin unveiled its second-quarter earnings, a report that showed growth in the company’s and sales. HMH officials touted the organization as evidence that the company is making inroads in key state publishing markets, such as Texas, and faring well with different products lines, such as reading. But investors initially were not impressed: The company’s stock price dropped from $6.3o a share to below $5.00 late last week, before rebounding a bit to  about $5.30.

In another change, HMH is promoting Amy Dunkin, who has served as the company’s chief marketing officer, as executive vice president and general manager of professional services. That division oversees professional learning, coaching and consulting, and other areas, and focuses on the “central role of the educator,” the company said.

The company, which serves an estimated 50 million students and 3 million educators in 150 countries, has said in its messaging that it no longer wants to be considered a publisher, but rather a “learning company,” and Lynch said that the restructuring will help with that mission.

HMH has made other structural overhaul’s under Lynch’s management. In 2017, a few months after taking over as CEO, he announced a series of changes to leadership focused on curriculum and other areas.

The latest moves will result in “increased capability” at the organization, Lynch said, and strengthen “the relationship we have with the end-user” of HMH’s products – students and teachers – “not just the buyer.”

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