Academic Partnerships Names Fernando Bleichmar as New CEO

February 16, 2022


Retiring CEO Rob Ganji will continue as Senior Advisor to the Board of Directors

DALLAS, TX – February 16, 2022 – Academic Partnerships (AP), the leading online facilitator that helps regional public universities expand access to top-quality, affordable and workforce relevant education, today announced the appointment of Fernando Bleichmar as its Chief Executive Officer. He succeeds Darab (“Rob”) Ganji who is retiring from the position and will continue to serve as Senior Advisor to the company’s Board of Directors.

Fernando joins AP from Cengage Group, a global education technology company that serves millions of learners, where he led their U.S. Higher Education Division. Today’s announcement follows an extensive nationwide search overseen by AP’s Board with the support of a globally recognized executive search firm.

Dan Branch, Chairman of the AP Board of Directors, said, “Today, more than ever, universities are seeking trusted experts to help them meet student demand for flexible and accessible education, particularly in high need areas. We are deeply thankful to Rob for his vision and leadership in realizing AP’s high-impact mission and his unwavering commitment to our employees, our university customers and the success of their students. Under his leadership, AP has grown to support more than 55 universities and more than 750 high need programs.  Building on that foundation, we anticipate Fernando will elevate AP to great heights. He brings deep experience and a strong skill set to the job, having 20 years of experience in higher ed and strategic leadership roles, with a stellar record of growth and innovation.”

Fernando served in leadership roles at Cengage Group for eight years, most recently as Executive Vice President and General Manager of U.S. Higher Education. During his tenure at Cengage Group, he also served as Chief Product Officer and Chief Strategy Officer. Prior to joining Cengage Group, he held roles at Elsevier Health Sciences and The Boston Consulting Group.  He holds an MBA from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

In joining AP, Fernando Bleichmar said, “In talking to hundreds of universities and students over the years, I know the life-changing benefits of education. I’ve also seen the challenges many students face to access affordable education in a flexible way that allows them to achieve their goals. AP’s commitment to realizing its mission is one reason I’m so proud to be joining the company and helping build upon this important legacy. I look forward to leading AP as we continue to support the needs of our university partners with a single-minded focus on driving university and student success.”

“It was a great privilege to have been Academic Partnerships CEO for nearly four years and to serve AP’s talented team in supporting regional universities and their students,” said Rob Ganji. “Our commitment, aligned with our university partners, to affordable access, student success and workforce needs transforms lives, and I am honored to have played a part. Today, AP’s mission is ever more critical, and I am pleased to hand the baton to a skilled and passionate leader to guide the company into its next chapter.”

Dan Branch added, “Speaking on behalf of the entire Board, we’re excited about this next phase for AP, and we look forward to working with Fernando to continue AP’s mission focused on university and student success.”

About Academic Partnerships

Based in Dallas, Texas, Academic Partnerships is an online facilitator that assists primarily public institutions of higher education across North America in taking their academic programs online and recruits and retains qualified students through program completion. AP’s mission is to expand access to top quality, affordable and workforce relevant education, especially for working and adult students. Founded in digital innovation more than a decade ago, Academic Partnerships brings single-minded dedication, an integrated set of services and data-driven performance to our collaboration with university partners—even more so as we face the challenges brought on by COVID-19. For more information on innovative online learning solutions, please visit

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