New Leadership for ProQuest and Ex Libris

By Marshall Breeding

The board of directors of ProQuest has announced that Matti Shem Tov, President 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.   

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 in turn 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 which achieved sustained advancement of the company’s position as a technology provider for academic and research libraries 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 succession of 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. During each period of ownership, new products were created which attracted interest for potential new owners and investors. The company has advanced from its initial Aleph integrated library system, to SFX as the first OpenURL link resolver, to Primo and then Primo Central as new discovery tools.  Alma now stands as Ex Libris’ flagship platform, which has in turn led to the creation of its Leganto course list management platform. 

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, 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 which deliver its content offerings. The new ProQuest Ebook Central, for example, brings together the capabilities of the ebrary and EBL - Ebook Library and providing new enhancements.   

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 Masters in Business Administration from Bar Ilan University in Israel.   

Bar Veinstein, Corporate Vice President, 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 which will continue to operate as a business unit of ProQuest.


Published on May 23, 2017