November 14, 2002

eCornell Chooses New Interim Chief

Print More

eCornell, the University’s for-profit distance-learning subsidiary, announced this week that John Neuman ’62 will serve as its interim CEO.

“I am pleased to help move [eCornell] along as a team,” Neuman said.

Neuman replaces former CEO Francis P. Pandolfi, who resigned recently due to health problems. Neuman will serve until the company hires a permanent CEO.

“The search for a new CEO is underway,” Neuman said, adding that he cannot predict when it will be complete.

“My acting CEO-ship will last until the new CEO is in and on the ground,” he added.

Although his term as CEO is temporary, Neuman plans to play an active role in helping eCornell improve.

“I am not just a caretaker,” he said. “My charter is to first make sure the business momentum and upward movement are maintained.”

Even though he has held his position for only a few days, Neuman has already started to formulate ideas as to what issues need progress in the organization.

Created in 2000, eCornell offers distance-learning opportunities to professionals.

The company offers courses, designed by Cornell faculty members, in the areas of industrial and labor relations, hotel management and medicine.

“Twelve professional development Internet-based courses are now offered by eCornell to middle management professionals around the world and students are registering at a rate of 5,000 a year,” said Philip M. Young, chair of the board of eCornell, in a Cornell News press release.

“Ten additional new course programs are currently under development and expected to be added to the company’s course catalog by mid-2003,” he said.

Many members of the Cornell community opposed eCornell at its beginning, claiming that distance-learning might degrade Cornell’s reputation.

“We have to remember that [eCornell] is not offering degree programs and it’s not offering courses for credit,” said University President Hunter R. Rawlings III. “eCornell has received high marks [from its students] for the quality of the program. [eCornell’s] growth rate is good. It has an increased enrollment and second-time students.”

Like many young start-up companies, eCornell has not yet shown a profit.

“eCornell is not yet at a financial break-even,” Neuman said. “We want to accelerate the point in time when that will be reached. It’s very important for us to get there.”

Neuman also plans to keep obligations to clients of his own Ithaca-based management-consulting firm, 1492 Consulting Group, at a minimum during his time as CEO so as to focus his attention on eCornell.

He will return to his role as president and CEO of the consulting firm after eCornell hires a permanent leader.

“[Newman] is the ideal person to take over the stewardship of eCornell during this transition period,” Young stated in a Cornell News release. “We are confident that he can maintain and enhance the forward momentum the company has achieved.”

Archived article by Stephanie Hankin