Follett Corporation, a trusted partner to preK-12 schools, districts and college campuses for more than 140 years, today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Ray A. Griffith as the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. He succeeds Mary Lee Schneider, who has retired from Follett as both President and Chief Executive Officer and Director.
Mr. Griffith, 61, has served as a member of Follett’s Board of Directors since February 2013. As President and CEO, he will continue to serve on the Board. Mr. Griffith brings more than 35 years of transformative leadership experience to Follett, most recently serving as the President and CEO of Ace Hardware until April 2013. At Ace, Mr. Griffith modernized the locally-owned hardware store, pioneering the “next generation” retail store format and opening more than 990 new locations in eight years.
“We are pleased to announce the appointment of Ray Griffith as President and CEO of Follett,” said Todd Litzsinger, Chairman of the Follett Board of Directors. “Known for his humble leadership, Follett will benefit from Ray’s passion for our customers and associates. The son of a public school teacher and grade school principal who began his career managing a local retail store, Ray has the right experience and strategic vision to drive Follett to continued success.”
Mr. Griffith said, “Education is changing rapidly. Follett does not hide from the change – we’re excited by it. Together with our partners, we are working hard to shape the future of education by focusing on continuously improving the products and services we offer. Importantly, this transition is not about me. Follett is the market leader in education services because of its talented team of associates, and I look forward to working with them, Follett’s leadership and the Board of Directors to deliver novel solutions to some of the toughest challenges in education.”
During his tenure at Ace Hardware, Mr. Griffith also served as the Chief Operating Officer. Prior to his nearly 20-year career with Ace, Mr. Griffith was the President and CEO of Coast to Coast before the hardware chain’s mergers with ServiStar in 1990 and True Value in 1997. Mr. Griffith currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Ace Hardware International, a subsidiary of Ace Hardware. He previously served as a Director of Leggett & Platt. Mr. Griffith is also Manager and Co-Founder of SAE Orthopedic. A graduate of Southern Illinois University (SIU), Mr. Griffith serves on the Board of Directors for SIU Foundation and on the Dean’s External Advisory Board for SIU’s College of Business.
“Our Board of Directors is grateful for Mary Lee Schneider’s substantial contributions to Follett as President and CEO since November 2012 and as a member of our Board of Directors since 2001, including her drive to harness Follett’s insights to provide better content, technologies and services that will improve student outcomes. Notably, Mary Lee’s operational focus on driving continual improvement and efficiency will serve Follett well as the Company pursues growth in the years to come. We wish her much success in her future endeavors,” Mr. Litzsinger added.
“I have been proud to be a part of the Follett story for the past 14 years, first as a member of the Board and then as President and CEO. Follett gave me a great opportunity, and it has been a privilege to play a part in Follett’s success. While I am moving on to the next adventure, I look forward to watching the Company’s continued success from a different vantage point,” said Mary Lee Schneider.
About Follett Corporation | Follett.com
For more than 140 years, Follett has been a trusted partner to preK-12 schools, colleges and campus bookstores, taking care of the critical details that make it easier for schools to run, teachers to teach, students to learn and fans to celebrate. A leading provider of education technology, services and physical and digital content, Follett currently works with 70,000 schools and operates more than 1,250 local campus stores and 1,600 virtual stores. With the 2016 acquisition of Baker & Taylor, LLC, Follett's reach also extends into the public library and global retail markets. Today Follett Corporation is the world's largest single source of books, entertainment products, digital content and multi-media for libraries, schools and retailers. Follett is a $3.6 billion privately held company headquartered in Westchester, Illinois.