Former Chairman, President & CEO, Rosetta Stone
John is a seasoned executive with over three decades of experience providing leadership and advice to businesses ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies undergoing strategic transformation. As both a CEO and investment banker, John has helped companies work through everything from initial startup to public restructurings and turnarounds. John is now focused on leveraging his experience in service to social sector entities and companies with compelling missions to create positive change.
Most recently, John served as the Chairman and CEO of Rosetta Stone, an education technology company, where he led a turnaround of the business from 2015 through its sale in 2020. Partnering with an exceptional leadership team, John helped to stabilize and modernize Rosetta Stone’s iconic language business while investing significant human and capital resources in building the company’s Lexia Literacy business with its proven ability to accelerate literacy among learners of all ages. During this period Lexia grew from a small education company to the recognized leader in literacy education in the United States.
Previously, John was a partner at Goldman Sachs, where he began his career and worked from 1988 until 2006. During his almost two decades with Goldman Sachs, John worked closely with senior executives across a broad range of corporate sectors to determine and execute their most important strategic decisions from initial public offerings to sales and acquisitions of key businesses.
Following Goldman and before joining Rosetta Stone, John was the CEO of a startup in the financial technology space from launch through its initial growth phase. John helped to establish all key areas of the business including its technology, marketing plan and customer service. Today the business serves as the foundation for the retail online trading platform of E*Trade/Morgan Stanley.
John serves on the corporate boards of several U.S. and European companies, focusing on those whose missions align with his interests in education and climate change. In the social sector, John is a former long-term board president of WITNESS, an international human rights organization founded by Peter Gabriel, focused on safely and effectively bringing human rights abuses to light and creating change through the power of visual documentation. John currently serves on the boards of the Museum of Contemporary Photography and the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and as a member of the Committee on Photography and Media of the Art Institute of Chicago. John is also a member of the Chicago Committee of Human Rights Watch.
John lives in Chicago with his wife, Mary Frances Budig, and their children Alexander, who is passionate about music, and Georgia, a dynamic gymnast.