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Cengage Learning Announces Strategic Hires to Support Continued Emergence as Innovative Global Education Leader

Expertise in Corporate Strategy, Corporate Development and M&A, Public Affairs, and Corporate Affairs bolsters Executive talent

STAMFORD, Conn., Feb. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Cengage Learning, a leading educational content, software and services company, today announced four strategic hires to support its future as a global leader in education. Additions to Cengage include Fernando Bleichmar, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer; Torsten Geers, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development and M&A; Susan Aspey, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs; and Josef Blumenfeld, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs.

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"I am very pleased to announce the newest members of the Cengage Learning team and I look forward to the leadership and perspective Fernando, Torsten, Susan and Joe will bring to our company," said Michael Hansen, Chief Executive Officer, Cengage Learning. "These strategic hires are critical to supporting our company as we enter the next phase in becoming a truly innovative global leader in the education space. With their passion and proven expertise in their respective areas, we are poised to make a new mark in the industry as we strive to engage our customers and stakeholders in new ways."

Fernando Bleichmar, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, serving on the Executive Team and reporting to the Chief Executive Officer, is responsible for the continuing evolution of Cengage Learning's strategy. In addition, he oversees the company's corporate development and competitive intelligence functions. Prior to joining Cengage Learning, Fernando served as Chief Operating Officer at Altisource Technology Services and as Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at Elsevier Health Sciences. Earlier in his career, he served eight years at The Boston Consulting Group, and also worked as COO and Advisor for Centro Eleia, a professional university focused on psychology studies in Mexico. Fernando holds an MBA from Columbia University and a Bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

Torsten Geers, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and M&A, will lead the company's corporate development activities, including mergers & acquisition, divestitures, alliances and other key strategic development initiatives.  Torsten brings extensive relevant background in the global enterprise software and information services industries. He most recently served as COO of Kura MD, Inc., an emerging telemedicine technology company as well as Co-Founder of IPQ Analytics, LLC, a life sciences focused software analytics company.  Prior to that, he served as Vice President, Corporate Development and M&A for Thomson-Reuters Corporation. Earlier in his career, he held a number of management roles at SAP AG.  Torsten holds degrees from Julius Maximilians University, Ludwig Maximilians University and The James E. Beasley School of Law.

Susan Aspey, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, will be responsible for developing strategies, programs, and partnerships that will enhance Cengage's position as a thought leader in education and will support more effective communication with key stakeholders who are focused on improving education.  Susan most recently held the position of Vice President, Media Relations for Pearson's North American group. Prior to Pearson, she held several positions in the administration of President George W. Bush, including Press Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education and Communications Director/Press Secretary for the Gulf Coast Rebuilding office.  She also served on a communications team at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Susan holds a Master's in Journalism from Temple University and a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from West Virginia University.

Josef Blumenfeld, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs, is responsible for all media relations and external communications and messaging for the company. Joe has more than 20 years of global media relations experience and he joins Cengage most recently from his position as Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications/Corporate Affairs at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) in Boston. In his role there, he led the company through its Chapter 11 communications process, the HMH merger and several branding initiatives. Earlier in his career, Joe held senior communications roles at FAST, a Norway-based Microsoft subsidiary, Tradewind Strategies and Brodeur Porter Novelli. Joe graduated from Emerson College with a degree in Organizational Communications and did his graduate studies in International Communications at American University.

About Cengage Learning
Cengage Learning is a leading educational content, software and services company for the academic, professional and library markets worldwide.  The company provides personalized services and course-driven digital solutions that enhance the educational process resulting in a more engaged learner.  Through the integration of content, unmatched services and digital solutions, Cengage Learning delivers a best-in-the-industry experience, resulting in better curricula and improved learner outcomes. Cengage Learning is headquartered in Stamford, CT.  For more information on Cengage Learning please visit www.cengage.com.

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