Executive Leadership Team
Chief Executive Officer
Jeff Tarr is Chief Executive Officer of Skillsoft and brings a successful track record of building tech-enabled services companies into trusted industry leaders.
Over the last two decades, he has transformed three publicly traded, tech-enabled information companies into industry leaders. He previously served as Chief Executive Officer and a director of DigitalGlobe, the world leader in satellite imagery and geospatial intelligence, from 2011 until the sale of the company to MDA (now Maxar Technologies) in 2017. Prior to DigitalGlobe, Jeff was President and Chief Operating Officer of IHS (now IHS Markit) and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the publicly traded business information company, Hoover’s, Inc. (now a division of D&B). He began his career with Bain & Company.
Jeff currently serves on the board of EchoStar. He is also a member of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business Advisory Council and was previously Chairman of the school’s Management Board. Jeff served on the board of The Corporate Executive Board Company (CEB) until the sale of the company to Gartner in 2017 and on the board of DSST Public Schools, one of the leading open enrollment school systems in the United States. He also served as co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Council on the Future of Space Technologies and co-Chair of the Annual Meeting of New Champions in Dalian China. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Jeff holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs.
Chief Financial Officer
As Chief Financial Officer, Rich oversees Skillsoft’s global finance function including planning and analysis, treasury, tax, accounting, procurement, internal audit, and investor relations. Rich also leads Skillsoft’s corporate strategy and development activities focusing on investments to drive sustained organic and acquired growth for the business worldwide.
Bringing extensive experience to his role, Rich previously served as Chief Financial Officer for multiple market-leading public and private companies including ServiceSource and IHS Markit (acquired by SAP Global). In these positions, Rich oversaw global finance functions, built corporate strategy and development functions, and led the successful completion of more than 70 strategic acquisitions.
Rich was previously an advisor to Churchill Capital and a member of the Board of Directors for ServiceSource. He holds an MBA from the University of Denver and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Colorado where he graduated magna cum laude.
Chief Legal Officer
As Skillsoft’s Chief Legal Officer, Sarah spearheads worldwide legal matters for the Skillsoft group of companies. She joined Skillsoft in 2021, bringing more than 25 years of experience practicing corporate law.
Sarah most recently served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary for National CineMedia. She previously served as Deputy General Counsel for CH2M Hill Companies, Ltd. While at CH2M, she led a team that was responsible for global legal corporate enterprise matters including mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures, securities compliance, treasury and finance activities, real estate, and board and subsidiary governance.
Sarah began her career at Hogan & Hartson, LLP in the Business and Finance Group and became a partner in 2004. During her time at the firm, she focused on mergers and acquisitions, strategic joint ventures and corporate finance, among other corporate matters, for a broad array of clients.
Sarah holds a Juris Doctorate from Stanford Law School and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Colorado Boulder.
Apratim Purakayastha (AP)
Chief Product and Technology Officer
As Skillsoft’s Chief Product and Technology Officer, AP is responsible for the overall strategy and product roadmaps for the entire Skillsoft portfolio. In addition, he is responsible for engineering, cloud operations, and support for Skillsoft enterprise learning platforms. He is also responsible for the digital and IT infrastructure across all areas in the Skillsoft group of companies. AP has held this role since 2016.
AP has extensive experience supporting rapidly growing technology companies, including as General Manager and SVP at SevOne, where he was responsible for the on-demand / SaaS business segment. He also served as Group President at ACI Worldwide and ran the on-demand payments division. AP started as a research staff member at IBM and became a Director of Software at IBM.
AP currently serves on the board of William Clarence Education, a K-12 education company. He has previously served on the board of Nuvepro, a cloud learning company. AP holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Duke University, M.S. in Computer Science from Washington State University, and a B.S. in Computer Science from Jadavpur University in India.
Chief Commercial Officer
A global technology executive with extensive strategy and growth experience, Eric joined Skillsoft as Chief Revenue Officer in 2021.
He previously served as Chief of Staff for the President of Global Sales, Services and Customer Engagement at SAP, where he supported global go-to-market strategy and operations. Prior to that, he was Chief Revenue Officer at Qualtrics and Chief Innovation Officer for SAP America.
Earlier in his career, Eric held positions of increasing seniority at SAP, Ciber, Virtustream and Blackboard.
Eric is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board at Boston University School of Law and founder of the Eric & Neil Stine-Markman Scholarship, the first permanent endowment to dedicate scholarship funds to the LGBTQ+ community. He also plays active board and fundraising roles for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Yale Pediatrics and Northwestern University.
Eric holds a Juris Doctorate from the Boston University School of Law and Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and History from Northwestern University.
Chief People Office
As Chief People Officer, Ciara oversees Skillsoft’s people and workforce strategies, which includes accelerating efforts to attract, retain, and develop the best talent in the industry and advancing the company’s culture of leadership and learning.
Ciara brings more than 20 years of HR, total rewards, workforce transformation, and M&A experience to her role. Prior to joining Skillsoft, she served as Head of Total Rewards at Syngenta, where she implemented a best-in-class benefits offering, developed and implemented pay management processes designed to drive equity, and managed her function through a period of transition from a regional to BU-based model. Additionally, she held HR Lead roles in Dell’s Total Rewards Team, as well as a senior HR leadership role on the EMEA HR Workstream for the Dell and EMC Corporation merger.
Earlier in her career, Ciara served as a global HR Integration Lead for the NBC Universal and Comcast Corporation merger and worked on global HR transformations for Fortune 500 companies at Deloitte Consulting.
Ciara holds a Bachelor of Business and Information Systems from University College Cork.
Chief Marketing Officer
As Chief Marketing Officer, Michelle leads a global marketing organization, focused on transforming today’s workforce for tomorrow’s economy. Since joining the company, she has been responsible for Skillsoft’s global marketing strategy, which includes generating awareness, driving preference, and building affinity for Skillsoft. Additionally – and perhaps most importantly – Michelle serves as the company's brand evangelist, helping to build a vibrant community of passionate learners.
With more than 25 years of marketing, branding, and strategy experience, Michelle has made it her personal mission to support the advancement of women in business. Prior to Skillsoft, she served as Chief Marketing Officer of IBM Watson, where she was instrumental in developing the first “Women Leaders in AI” program, which honors women who put AI to work across industries and around the globe. She also served as the global head of marketing for The Weather Company, an IBM Business, helping companies understand how to anticipate, plan for, and ultimately make better decisions – with greater confidence – in the face of weather.
Michelle is a prolific speaker on a range of topics, including the war for talent, digital transformation, and marketing in a post-pandemic world. She covers these topics and more as the host of Skillsoft's podcast, The Edge, now in its second season. She has authored countless papers covering a range of business and marketing topics, was at the center of Skillsoft’s leadership role in DEI through free “Leadercamps,” and has taught two Percipio courses on the Pink Pandemic and Public Speaking.
Michelle is also a founding member of CMO Huddles, a group dedicated to bringing together and empowering highly effective B2B CMOs to share, care, and dare each other to greatness. Michelle holds a Master’s degree from Simmons University and sits on the pro side of the Oxford comma debate.
Zach Sims is the co-founder and CEO of Codecademy, and he serves on the executive leadership team at Skillsoft.
Codecademy is a leading online learning platform that has helped over 40 million people worldwide lead inspiring careers in technology. By creating an engaging, flexible, and accessible way to learn in-demand technology skills, Codecademy empowers individuals and companies to thrive in today’s tech-driven workforce. Ten years after founding Codecademy, Zach led the company through a $525M acquisition with Skillsoft.
Zach has been recognized by The World Economic Forum as a Technology Pioneer, by TIME as one of its 100 Most Influential People, and has been named to both Forbes and Inc. Magazines’ “30 Under 30” lists for his work to scale education opportunities in technology. He is also an investor with firms like Bowery Capital and is an angel investor in companies like Ro, Sourcegraph, Mercury, and more.
Zach was a student at Columbia University before founding Codecademy.
Jim Gruskin currently serves as General Manager for Skillsoft’s Instructor-Led Training business. During his tenure at Global Knowledge prior to the merger with Skillsoft, Jim served as the company’s Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Financial Officer.
Jim has spent over 20 years as a transformational leader and senior executive with a focus on strategy, finance and operations.
Jim has executed over 45 capital market and strategic transactions with a total value of over $75 billion. During his career he has worked as an investment banker, investor, strategic thought leader, and senior corporate finance decision maker.
Previous experience includes Managing Partner of Cobb Bay Partners, a mergers and acquisitions advisory firm; Head of Strategic Finance and Treasurer at marketing solutions provider Dex One Corporation; Head of Business Development and Chief Accounting Officer at regional newspaper publisher Journal Register Company; technology, media and telecom investment banker at Morgan Stanley; and private equity investor at Prudential Capital.
Jim received a bachelor of science degree in economics with a concentration in finance from The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and an MBA in finance from The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.