Gary Lang, Blackboard’s senior vice president in charge of product development and cloud operations, has announced his resignation and plans to join Amazon. Gary took the job with Blackboard in June 2013 and, along with CEO Jay Bhatt and SVP of Product Management Mark Strassman, formed the core management team that had worked together previously at AutoDesk. Gary led the reorganization effort to bring all product development under one organization, a core component of Blackboard’s recent strategy.
Michael described Blackboard’s new product moves toward cloud computing and an entirely new user experience (UX) for the Learn LMS, and Gary was the executive in charge of these efforts. These significant changes have yet to fully roll out to customers (public cloud in pilot, new UX about to enter pilot). Gary was also added to the IMS Global board of directors in July 2014 – I would expect this role to change as well given the move to Amazon.
At the same time, VP Product Management / VP Market Development Brad Koch has also resigned from Blackboard.1 Brad came to Blackboard from the ANGEL acquisition. Given his long-term central role leading product definition and being part of Ray Henderson’s team2, Brad’s departure will also have a big impact. Brad’s LinkedIn page shows that he has left Blackboard, but it does not yet show his new company. I’m holding off reporting until I can get public confirmation.
Blackboard provided the following statement from CEO Jay Bhatt.
The decision to leave Blackboard for an opportunity with Amazon was a personal one for Gary that allows him to return home to the West Coast. During his time here, Gary has made significant contributions to the strategic direction of Blackboard and the technology we deliver to customers. The foundation he has laid, along with other leaders on our product development team, will allow us to continue to drive technical excellence for years to come. We thank him for his leadership and wish him luck as he embarks on this new endeavor.