Michael E. Hansen became Chief Executive Officer of Cengage Group in September of 2012 and has been a Director of Cengage Group since March 2014. During his tenure, Michael has successfully guided the company through Chapter 11 reorganization and helped pave the way for the company’s transformation from a struggling higher ed print publisher, to now, a portfolio edtech company operating in attractive markets and delivering consistent mid-single-digit revenue and profitability growth. The company is now more than 70% digital, focused on providing ‘Education for Employment’ and helping individuals improve their lives through achieving tangible education outcomes.
Michael is a battle-tested, highly experienced CEO, focused on delivering results in challenging business transformations. He has an extensive track record of developing innovative business models and disruptive strategies, while attracting and nurturing high-performing executive teams. For him, this work is deeply rewarding and reflects his own journey from humble roots in Germany's rustbelt.
During his tenure, Cengage Group has taken significant steps to disrupt the overall education industry and break down barriers so learners have greater access and opportunity to get an education. He was named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business in 2020 for his leadership in tackling the affordability crisis in higher education with the launch of Cengage Unlimited, the first-ever all-access digital subscription service for higher ed course materials.
Michael strongly believes that company culture is a primary driver of business success and works diligently to foster an environment at Cengage Group where trust, transparency and collaboration are foundational, and employees feel comfortable being their authentic selves at work. This culture has driven the company’s recognition as a Glassdoor Best Place to Work in 2019 and 2023 and Michael’s recognition as a Top CEO in 2018 and 2019. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Michael’s leadership and intentional focus on transparency helped the organization navigate a heightened period of uncertainty and drive significant revenue growth for the first time since emerging from bankruptcy.
Prior to joining Cengage Group, Michael served as CEO of the Health Science Business at Reed Elsevier (now RELX) and Harcourt. Earlier in his career, Michael led the portfolio transformation at Bertelsmann and prior to that served as a partner at Boston Consulting Group.
He currently sits on the Board of TalkSpace, a publicly traded mental health company and on the Business Advisory Council for ProPublica, an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism. Michael holds a Master of Law degree from the University of Bonn in Germany and a Master of Business Administration from Columbia University in New York. He is based out of New York City.