Jonathan Grayer

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Jonathan Grayer
Born Westport, CT
Occupation CEO of Weld North. Former Chairman and CEO of Kaplan, Inc.
Known for Global expansion and diversification of Kaplan, Inc. from 1994-2008

Jonathan Grayer is the former Chairman and CEO of Kaplan, Inc., a global education company and test prep provider that has been owned by Graham Holdings Company (formerly the Washington Post Company) since 1984. Grayer is credited with expanding the company to its current size since 1994 when he was first appointed CEO.[1] In January 2010, Grayer, in partnership with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, launched Weld North LLC, an investment company concentrating on consumer services, education, media and marketing businesses. He serves as CEO and Chairman of the company.[2]

Education and Kaplan[edit]

Grayer graduated with an B.A. from Harvard College in 1986 and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.[3] Over the course of his college career, he served as a summer intern in the corporate development department at The Washington Post Company. Upon completing his M.B.A. at Harvard Business School in 1990, he joined the marketing department of Newsweek, another Washington Post company, where he was eventually named the director of marketing. Grayer joined Kaplan in 1990 as regional operations director, and held several titles before becoming president and CEO in July 1994. He was named Chairman and CEO of the education company in February 2002.(The Washingtonian, June 2005)

When Grayer first became CEO of Kaplan in 1994, the company was an $80 million test preparation business.[3] Through a series of strategic acquisitions that brought Kaplan into the higher education and professional training markets, he was able to diversify Kaplan into a company that provides lifelong learning and had more than $2 billion in revenue in 2007.[4]

In 2004, BusinessWeek named Grayer one of the best managers of the year for his leadership in establishing Kaplan as The Washington Post Company’s "financial crown jewel." [1] The company’s growth under his leadership has been reported on by other national and international media including Fortune,[5] Forbes,[6] The Wall Street Journal[7] and the Financial Times.[8] On November 19, 2008, Grayer announced his resignation from Kaplan, stating that he plans to pursue "entrepreneurial activity, investment and philanthropy."[9]

Weld North[edit]

Jonathan founded Weld North in 2010 in partnership with KKR to invest in education, health and wellness, media, marketing and consumer services companies. Since its founding, Weld North has made a dozen investments in growth stage companies. In the K-12 industry segment, Weld North is the owner of leading technology, curriculum and service companies including:

  • Edgenuity, an Arizona based 6th-12th grade educational technology and curriculum company, which was acquired in July 2011,
  • Generation Ready, a New York based K-12 professional development and services company, which was formed as a combination of JBHM and Editure and acquired in August and September 2012, respectively,
  • Imagine Learning, a Utah based english language learning company, which was acquired in April 2014, and
  • Truenorthlogic, a Utah based K-12 data analytics company, which was acquired in April 2014.

In higher education, Weld North acquired The Learning House, which is a Kentucky based service provider to over 100 higher education institutions, in October 2011. In addition to education, Weld North has also focused on investing in innovative health and wellness companies. In 2012 Weld North became the majority owner in Organic Avenue, an organic, vegan food and juice company based in New York. Weld North is also an investor in Relationship Science and Voxy.

Jonathan is frequent speaker on education reform, investing, and innovation.

Other Roles[edit]

Grayer now serves on the boards of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center[10] and the Partnership for New York City.[11] In September 2005, he was named by U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings to the Commission on the Future of Higher Education.[12]


  1. ^ a b BW Online | January 12, 2004 | Jonathan Grayer
  2. ^ "KKR and Grayer Form New Venture". The Wall Street Journal. 26 January 2010. 
  3. ^ a b The Washington Post Company - Business Properties
  4. ^ The Washington Post Company - Annual Reports
  5. ^ Serwer, Andy (May 31, 2004). "Understated, Underrated, and One Hell of a CEO". CNN. 
  6. ^ "Dr. Cram -". Forbes. 24 January 2000. 
  7. ^ Golden, Daniel; Rose, Matthew (November 7, 2003). "Kaplan Transforms Into Big Operator Of Trade Schools". The Wall Street Journal. 
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ [2]
  10. ^
  11. ^ PFNYC: Board of Directors
  12. ^ Secretary Spellings Announces New Commission on the Future of Higher Education