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New Leadership for ProQuest and Ex Libris

Smart Libraries Newsletter [July 2017]

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Copyright (c) 2017 ALA TechSource

Abstract: The board of directors of ProQuest has announced that Matti Shem Tov, President of Ex Libris, will assume leadership of the entire ProQuest organization, succeeding current CEO Kurt Sanford. This change comes a year and 4 months after the acquisition of Ex Libris, a move that significantly expanded the position of ProQuest as a content, services, and technology company for libraries. This move represents an interesting change in ProQuest where the top leadership comes from the technology sphere rather than the publishing industry.


The board of directors of ProQuest has announced that Matti Shem Tov, President of Ex Libris, will assume leadership of the entire ProQuest organization, succeeding current CEO Kurt Sanford. This change comes a year and 4 months after the acquisition of Ex Libris, a move that significantly expanded the position of ProQuest as a content, services, and technology company for libraries. This move represents an interesting change in ProQuest where the top leadership comes from the technology sphere rather than the publishing industry.

The transition from Sanford to Shem Tov will transpire gradually. Executive responsibilities will shift in the third quarter of 2017. Sanford will then remain in an advisory capacity through the end of 2017 before he exits the company. Shem Tov will report directly to the ProQuest Board of Directors, headed by Andrew M. Snyder. Ownership of ProQuest is privately held by Cambridge Information Group, which is owned by the family of Robert N. Snyder. Goldman Sachs has made major investments in ProQuest and holds a significant minority ownership position.

Shem Tov joined Ex Libris in March 2003 as President and Chief Executive Officer and has remained at the helm of the company through its multiple ownership arrangements. At Ex Libris, he led an executive team that achieved and sustained advancement of the company's position as a technology provider for academic and research libraries, which was based, to a large extent, on aggressive research and development strategies able to create new technology products with strong market appeal. Ex Libris has seen impressive growth in terms of extending its slate of product offerings, increasing the libraries adopting its products, steadily increasing revenues, and expanding its workforce.

The ownership arrangements of Ex Libris included:

  • Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1980–2006), Tamar Ventures, and Walden Israel (1999–2006)
  • Francisco Partners (June 2006–April 2008)
  • Leeds Equity Partners (August 2008–November 2012)
  • Golden Gate Capital (November 2012–2015)
  • ProQuest (since 2015)

The continuity of Shem Tov's leadership of Ex Libris through these events stands in contrast to the normal course of events associated with a change of ownership. In most cases, new investors will install their own executive management team. The retention of Shem Tov and his management team reflect confidence and a sense of not wanting to disrupt a successful business and technology strategy. Key members of this executive team include Oren Beit-Arie, Chief Strategy Officer; Bar Veinstei, Corporate VP Resource Management Solutions; and Omri Gerson, Vice President for Development, Platform and Technologies.

During each period of ownership, Ex Libris was able to create or acquire new products that attracted interest for potential new owners and investors. During the period when the company was still owned by Hebrew University of Jerusalem, they had expanded the market for its Aleph integrated library system (ILS), had commercialized SFX, and had launched its Primo discovery tool. While it was affiliated with Francisco Partners, Ex Libris acquired Endeavor and its Voyager ILS, representing a major expansion of its customer base, especially in the United States. The development of Alma took place under Leeds Equity. When Golden Gate acquired the company, Alma was in a fairly early phase of marketing. By the time that ProQuest acquired Ex Libris, Alma had become well established as the dominant product for large academic and research libraries seeking a new technology platform. Ex Libris also launched its Leganto reading list management system and acquired the campusM mobile platform from oMbiel while it was under Golden Gate. These cycles of investment have resulted in new products available to libraries and have strengthened Ex Libris' business position.

Kurt Sanford made many significant contributions during his tenure as its top executive. He joined ProQuest in July 2011 as President and CEO, succeeding Marty Kahn, who had led the company since 2007. Prior to ProQuest, Sanford served in several executive positions for LexisNexis culminating as its President of Global Operations for its global legal business. At ProQuest, Sanford led the company through significant business changes, building a more unified organization while extending its portfolio of products and services. Under his leadership, ProQuest expanded its business in several areas. Major business acquisitions included EBL Ebook Library, Pi2, Coutts Information Services, Ex Libris, and Alexander Street. In recent years, ProQuest has consolidated the technology platforms that deliver its content offerings. The new ProQuest Ebook Central, for example, brings together the capabilities of the ebrary and EBL—Ebook Library and provides new enhancements.

Sanford came to ProQuest from LexisNexis, where he served as President of Global Operations. His previous roles at LexisNexis included President and CEO of its US corporate and public markets, CEO of LexisNexis Asia Pacific, and Senior Vice President Large Law Firm Markets. Prior to joining LexisNexis, Sanford was a consultant at Bain and Company.

Prior to joining Ex Libris, Shem Tov was President of Surecomp, a global software development company specializing in the banking industry. Shem Tov earned a Master's Degree in Business Administration from Bar Ilan University in Israel.

Bar Veinstein, Corporate Vice President of Resource Management Solutions, will assume the role of President of Ex Libris. With his seven years of senior leadership, the company is expected to continue along a similar business strategy. Ex Libris will continue to operate as a business unit of ProQuest.

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Publication Year:2017
Type of Material:Article
Language English
Published in: Smart Libraries Newsletter
Publication Info:Volume 37 Number 07
Issue:July 2017
Page(s):2-3
Publisher:ALA TechSource
Place of Publication:Chicago, IL
Company: ProQuest
Ex Libris
ISSN:1541-8820
Record Number:23312
Last Update:2018-03-27 06:58:35
Date Created:2018-03-23 07:35:49