Christopher Etesse Joins Flat World Knowledge as CEO

IRVINGTON, NY – December 3, 2012 – Flat World Knowledge, a pioneer in higher education publishing, today announced the appointment of Christopher Etesse as Chief Executive Officer. Etesse was the former Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Blackboard Student Services. He brings a blend of technology and higher education experience, and a track record in developing products and services to help institutions create better learning environments and improve student success.

Jeff Shelstad, Flat World Knowledge Founder, will remain with the company in a strategic role as Founder, leveraging his deep experience in content development, strategic partnerships and champion of textbook affordability.

“I’m honored and excited to join Flat World Knowledge and lead the next phase of the company’s growth,” said Etesse. “I have great respect for Jeff and for what he and the team have accomplished. I look forward to working together to expand our customers’ experience with our products and online platform.”

“Chris’ technology thought leadership will be vital in driving more innovation into our business,” said Shelstad. “I welcome his energy and experience as we continue to change the textbook publishing industry and provide instructors and institutions with great, affordable textbooks and learning resources they can personalize to meet the needs of their students.”

As CTO and senior vice president at Blackboard Student Services (formerly Presidium Inc.), Etesse was responsible for both technology strategy and the strategic accounts group, which provided a wide range of services, including learning management system (LMS) support, strategic enrollment management, financial aid and online program management to some of the largest institutions in higher education.

Etesse was among the first employees of Blackboard Inc., the largest provider of LMS and software solutions to the education industry. During his eight-year tenure, he developed some of the company’s most successful web-based products. He was also instrumental in driving the company’s growth by managing large product development projects, international consulting and numerous strategic initiatives.

“Chris’ technical background and understanding of the complex challenges facing higher education helped Blackboard solve some of the early challenges in the LMS space, especially around open standards,” said Michael Chasen, Blackboard co-founder and CEO. “His experience will be invaluable as Flat World solidifies its unique position to solve the even more interesting challenges around content, retention and student success.”

“With his entrepreneurial approach and passion for technology and higher education, Chris is a strong complement to Jeff and Flat World’s start-up spirit,” said Christopher Gabrieli, a partner at Bessemer Venture Partners and Flat World board member. “His appointment strengthens Flat World’s ability to take advantage of the tremendous growth opportunities around digital learning content that lowers student costs and expands educational opportunities for today’s diverse learners.”

About Flat World Knowledge
Founded in 2007, Flat World Knowledge provides high-quality, affordable college textbooks and an online platform that allows instructors and institutions to personalize content in new ways to help students succeed. To learn more, visit; follow us on Twitter @flat_world; and Facebook

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