Portfolio Company News: The Great Courses
CHANTILLY – June 5, 2013 – The Great Courses, the nation’s leading developer and marketer of engaging, premium-quality video and audio courses for lifelong learners, today announced that it has appointed Charles (“Chuck”) Davis Executive Chairman of the company’s board of directors. As former CEO of two highly successful e-commerce platforms, Fandango and Shopzilla, Davis will take an active role in expanding The Great Courses’ online and digital efforts.
The Great Courses (www.thegreatcourses.com) is the premier brand of The Teaching Company, a portfolio investment of private equity firm Brentwood Associates (“Brentwood”). The Great Courses currently offers more than 450 video and audio courses for lifelong learning and personal enrichment, spanning more than 6,000 hours of content across a wide range of subjects. With the recent launch of its iPad app, customers can watch or listen to The Great Courses in both digital and physical formats, including digital streaming and download, DVD and CD.
“Chuck has extensive expertise in building and growing companies and will be a valuable asset to The Great Courses,” said Bill Barnum, a partner at Brentwood. “Chuck’s track record in driving exceptional digital growth will be the perfect complement to the efforts of The Great Courses’ highly accomplished management team. Although still early in its development, the company’s digital investments are paying off with sizeable improvements in customer satisfaction and increased content consumption.”
Davis currently is acting as the 2012-2013 International Chairman of the Young Presidents’ Organization worldwide board of directors. Prior to that, he spent five years at Fandango, a company he led to become the nation’s top web, mobile, and e-commerce destination for moviegoers. He also oversaw Fandango’s acquisition by Comcast Corporation in 2007. Prior to Fandango, Davis was President and CEO of Shopzilla, Inc. (formerly BizRate.com), and grew the company to become the largest, most profitable and fastest-growing comparison shopping site online. Shopzilla was acquired by the E.W. Scripps Company in 2005.
Paul Suijk, recently promoted to President of The Great Courses, added, “As we continue to expand our library of premium-quality content for lifelong learners, we have the opportunity to provide our customers with more robust, feature-rich digital tools so our customers can access it wherever, whenever and on any device they choose. Chuck will bring a wealth of experience and resources to our effort as we enter this next, exciting stage of growth.”
Davis sits on several boards, including Boingo (WIFI) and ShopatHome, and is a venture partner at Technology Crossover Ventures. Davis also serves as a trustee at Brown University where he leads its Advancement Committee and is an Expert-in-Residence at Harvard Business School.
“The Great Courses represents a unique and compelling opportunity to leverage my passion for building leading digital platforms. With an enthusiastic and highly loyal customer base and a large, one-of-a-kind library of high-quality content, the company is well positioned to benefit from a continued transition to a digital environment, and I am eager to be part of the team,” said Davis.
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The Great Courses
The Great Courses is the nation’s leading developer and marketer of engaging, premium-quality courses for lifelong learners. Delivered in engaging, expertly produced video and audio (digital streaming and download, DVD, CD), these carefully crafted courses provide access to a world of knowledge from the most accomplished professors and experts. The content-rich proprietary library spans over 450 titles with more than 6,000 hours and 12,000 lectures designed to expand horizons, deepen understanding and foster epiphanies in the arts, science, literature, self-improvement, history, music, philosophy, theology, economics, mathematics, business, professional advancement, personal enrichment and high school curriculum. Creating unique learning experiences since 1990, The Great Courses is the premier brand of The Teaching Company based in Chantilly, VA. More information can be found atwww.thegreatcourses.com.
Brentwood Associates is a consumer-focused private equity investment firm with over $650 million of capital under management and a thirty-year history of investing in leading middle-market growth companies. Brentwood focuses on investments in growing businesses where it is able to leverage its extensive experience in areas such as: branded consumer products; consumer services; direct marketing, including direct mail and e-commerce; education; health and wellness; restaurants; and specialty retail. Since 1984, Brentwood’s dedicated private equity team has invested in 42 portfolio companies with an aggregate transaction value of over $5 billion. With significant experience in both investing and brand building, Brentwood is a value-added partner with entrepreneurs and executives building world-class companies. For more information about Brentwood, please visit www.brentwood.com.