WESTCHESTER, IL, Aug 28, 2019 – Follett Corporation today announced two executive leadership appointments tied to the company's strategic expansion of technology and services that improve student outcomes in schools, colleges and communities across North America. Follett Higher Education President Clay Wahl has been appointed COO of Follett Corporation, and Roe J. McFarlane has been named Wahl's successor as President of Follett Higher Education. Wahl and McFarlane will report to Pat Connolly, Follett Corporation President and CEO.
"Clay and his team have expanded Follett's scope of campus services to include solutions that attract and retain students, improve learning success and ultimately, connect the college experience to a successful career," said Connolly. "I'm confident that as COO, Clay's experience and proven leadership will help expand the number of learning solutions available to our partners in higher education as well as Follett's K-12 and public library businesses."
Roe J. McFarlane succeeds Wahl as President of Follett Higher Education, which manages more than 2,700 physical campus locations and eCommerce platforms in North America. Prior to his appointment, McFarlane was Chief Digital Product and Marketing Officer leading the development of Follett's innovative technology and content tools.
"Roe is ideally suited to lead our higher education team," Connolly added. "His singular focus on delivering solutions that make a positive difference to students and institutions has led to the successful development of our digital infrastructure and unprecedented growth in Follett ACCESS – a leading course materials affordability solution that includes course materials with tuition, and full academic freedom for faculty." The program brings together Follett's technology tools and the widest range of content – 70 percent of which is digital – from the company's more than 6,000 publisher partnerships. Follett ACCESS is currently active on 250 Follett managed campuses.
Follett Higher Education is also investing heavily in technology and merchandising – more than $100 million a year – to deliver an unmatched campus experience that is unique to each institution. "As one of the largest purchasers of America's top apparel and technology brands, we provide an unmatched selection of merchandise to customers through our many campus retail channels, including a mobile-first experience," said McFarlane.
In June, the business launched a new eCommerce platform that reflects a $50 million investment in an online experience that complements the company's creative retailing store space designs – a hallmark of Follett operated stores. "On average, Follett spends more than $20 million on store renovations annually," said Wahl. "In fact, last year we opened a store a week on college campuses, which is evidence of our continued leadership in a changing retail landscape."
Wahl joined Follett in 2013 with an outstanding track record in supply chain management, operations management, strategic design, and tactical execution of high-level initiatives in large organizations. Since then he has been responsible for leading the operational transformation of Follett's higher education business to meet the changing needs of colleges and universities. Wahl's career includes supply chain and operational leadership roles at Sears Holding Corporation, Ford Motor Company, Detroit Diesel and Perceptron, Inc. Clay holds a bachelor's degree in Engineering and an MBA from Michigan State University.
Before joining Follett in 2013, McFarlane was Vice President of Product Innovation and Digital Customer Experience at Redbox Automated Retail, and held various executive roles in technology, marketing and product management at RR Donnelley & Corel Corporation. He has a bachelor's degree from St. Francis Xavier University, and an MBA from University of New Brunswick in Canada.
For more information about Follett, visit www.follett.com.
About Follett Corporation
Follett Corporation is a leading global source of educational materials, digital content, eCommerce, and multi-media for libraries, schools and institutions. Headquartered in Westchester, Illinois, Follett provides education technology, services and physical and digital content to millions of students at 70,000 schools, and more than 2,700 physical locations and campus eCommerce platforms in North America. Through Baker & Taylor, Follett's reach also extends to the public library markets.