David “Skip” Prichard has been named the next President and CEO of OCLC, effective July 1. (In the meantime, he will serve as President-elect, effective June 3.) Prichard will succeed Jay Jordan, who will retire June 30, after 15 years as OCLC President and CEO.
Prichard most recently served as President and CEO of Ingram Content Group, a position he left just shy of a year ago, saying he’d met the goals he came to achieve. Previously, he was President and CEO of ProQuest Information and Learning, a position he vacated after the business was sold to Cambridge Information Group in 2007.
“I’ve always admired OCLC from afar,” Prichard told LJ. “This is my first time with a nonprofit, and I am looking forward to that.”
Though he spoke of the challenges facing libraries today—the usual suspects of mobile, MOOCs, social networking, and the ever-present budget pressure— and OCLC’s mission to help libraries overcome them, Prichard was clear that he does not come with any fixed roadmap. “There’s nothing in terms of an agenda to change the current path,” he said. He plans to “really listen to the member libraries, to see what they have to say in terms of the services that we currently provide. How they feel we’re doing, where can we improve, what do we need to accelerate?”
Prichard told LJ that he and his family are relocating to Columbus, OH. He also plans to attend the upcoming major conferences, including, of course, ALA Annual in Chicago. He shared his personal reasons for choosing the position on his blog, including a supportive board, an industry in transition but a stable and respected company, and a chance to make a difference.
This is the second time that OCLC has announced Jordan’s retirement and a would-be successor. Jordan expected to retire in June 2012, to be succeeded by Jack Blount, the former president and CEO of Dynix Corp., where he helped implement the company’s merger with Sirsi in 2005 to form SirsiDynix. But just 12 days later, OCLC reversed its decision, announcing that Jordan would remain at the helm. No explanation for the about face has ever been provided.
Prichard told LJ he was not part of that initial search round. But though this second attempt has produced, in some ways, a very different candidate—one who has spent much of his working career in the library world, rather than briefly intersecting with it, and one whose resume indicates he may be more of a turnaround expert for established companies than a “serial entrepreneur”— Cathy De Rosa, Vice President for the Americas and Global Vice President of Marketing, told LJ that the search process itself, including due diligence, was very similar.
The search was led in both cases by Sandy Yee, Chair of the OCLC Board of Trustees and Dean, Wayne State University Libraries and School of Library and Information Science. Said Yee, “He has guided leading library services organizations through eras of significant change, from print to electronic and from local to global. His experience and commitment to libraries will help us continue our work to move library services and cooperation forward—in the cloud, on mobile devices and through the collaborative work of libraries and partners around the world.”—Meredith Schwartz, News Editor, Library Journal
From Gary Price, editor, LJ infoDOCKET:
Here’s the Full Text of Sandra Yee’s (Chair of OCLC Board of Trustees) Letter to OCLC Members About Skip Prichard’s Appointment
To the OCLC Membership,
As Chair of the OCLC Board of Trustees, it is my pleasure to announce today that Skip Prichard has been selected as the next OCLC President and CEO.
Skip is a proven leader, with an outstanding record of accomplishment. He comes to OCLC most recently from Ingram Content Group Inc., which provides physical and digital services to the book industry, where he served as President and CEO from January 2008 through June 2012. He had joined Ingram Content Group in 2007 as Chief Operating Officer.
From October 2005 to April 2007, he was President and CEO of ProQuest Information and Learning, an organization with 1,200 employees in the Americas, Europe and Asia. He also held posts as General Manager and Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing at ProQuest from April 2003 to October 2005.
Prior to his work at Ingram and ProQuest, Skip held executive positions with LexisNexis, where as Vice President he provided business information and risk management solutions to global corporations, libraries and other organizations.
Skip has the leadership skills, the experience, commitment and energy to guide the cooperative during this particularly exciting time for libraries. He has guided global organizations through eras of significant innovation and growth. These experiences and his commitment to libraries will help us continue our work to move library services forward—in the cloud, on mobile devices and through the collaborative work of libraries and partners around the world.
Skip will succeed Jay Jordan, who will retire June 30 after 15 years as OCLC President and CEO. We all know how much Jay has meant to the cooperative. He has presided over a period of remarkable growth, innovation and global expansion at OCLC. His contributions to the OCLC cooperative, to libraries and to librarianship will have a lasting impact and have provided the cooperative with a strong foundation to continue to advance our mission. We are grateful for Jay’s leadership and dedication.
Jay’s continued leadership provided the OCLC Board of Trustees ample time to conduct a thorough executive search and we had a very strong pool of outstanding candidates. The board was guided in the search process by a three-member steering committee that included Larry Alford, former Board Chair, and Chief Librarian, University of Toronto Libraries; Bernadette Gray-Little, Chancellor, University of Kansas; and me. The entire board was very closely involved in this selection process, and I am grateful for their time and dedicated service.
We are very pleased that effective June 3, Skip Prichard will serve as OCLC President-elect. He will be on the Dublin campus for much of June, working closely with Jay and the OCLC Strategic Leadership Team during the transition. He will become OCLC President and CEO on July 1, 2013.
Skip plans to attend the ALA Annual Conference in June and the IFLA conference in August. His first order of business will be to meet with you, to listen, learn and engage with member libraries. I know you will be impressed with his energy and commitment to advancing the success of libraries and the mission of your cooperative.
Please join me in welcoming him as the next OCLC President and CEO.
Chair, OCLC Board of Trustees
Dean, Wayne State University Libraries and School of Library and Information Science