THL appoints tech exec as MD

Former Blackboard Inc president and CEO Jay Bhatt has joined the Boston-based private equity firm’s media, information services and technology investment group.

Boston-based private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners has appointed Jay Bhatt as managing director in the firm’s media, information services and technology investment team.

Bhatt joins the firm from education technology company Blackboard Inc, where he served as president and chief executive for four years. During this time, Bhatt was responsible for driving significant sales and EBITDA growth through a strong focus on strategic and operational investments and efficiencies, according to a statement from THL. In addition, he spearheaded an upgrade of Blackboard’s technology platform, expanded Blackboard’s international business by 50 percent, and drove an aggressive acquisition approach of domestic and internationally based businesses, the firm said.

Prior to this, he served as president and CEO of global software company Progress Software Corporation, where he drove significant shareholder returns. Bhatt began his career as an investment banker and technology investor holding positions at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and UBS Investment Bank, prior to which he served as a transactional attorney.

“Jay’s extensive operating and leadership experience in the IT sector – specifically in software infrastructure, horizontal and vertical enterprise applications and SaaS technologies – will further build on our ability to identify and secure value-creating technology investment opportunities for our media, information services and technology portfolio,” said THL co-president Scott Sperling.

Thomas H. Lee Partners invests principally in North America-based business, across the consumer and healthcare, media and information services, and business and financial services sectors. Since its formation in 1974, THL has raised over $20 billion of equity capital and invested in more than 130 businesses with an aggregate purchase price of more than $150 billion.