CEO RoseAnn Rosenthal Explains Why She’s Leaving Ben Franklin Technology Partners
After 25 years of leading the Philadelphia region’s most active seed fund, RoseAnn B. Rosenthal is preparing to hand over the reins of state-backed Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania to a new leader.
Current Chief Investment Officer Scott Nissenbaum will take on the title of president and chief operating officer on July 1 and assume the role of CEO on Jan. 11, 2021.
In the wake of Rosenthal’s announcement, she talked to the Philadelphia Business Journal about the leadership transition, the challenges the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem faces amid Covid-19, and what she’ll miss most about the job.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Why now? What made this the right time to start this leadership transition?
RR: The leadership transition didn’t start now. I’ve always had a plan to step down after 25 years and my senior management team was well aware of that. I had said many times, after five strategic planning processes, I was not really thrilled about having to do another one. The organization had been doing continuation planning for quite a while, and it was the natural course for the organization to have new leadership to move it in the next direction. After 25 years, I think some new thinking is appropriate.
Was the idea [Nissenbaum] could take over part of the plan when he joined in 2015? Have you been working together over the years with that in mind?
RR: When we did the search for a Chief Investment Officer five years ago, when Scott was brought in, the idea was to bring in someone who could potentially lead the organization. It wasn’t a lock, but that was the goal, especially given the fact that capital formation issues are very important to what Ben Franklin does and its ability to serve the region well. So we were looking for someone who could be a part of the organization, who could understand the various constituencies involved with Ben Franklin but also have a strong capability to drive the capital formation and investment piece, which is really the core of what Ben Franklin does. Last year, [Nissenbaum] was promoted to executive vice president. That was the signal to our staff the transition was coming to more of a conclusion. This has been in the works and our goal was to ensure a smooth transition for the organization and for the community.
Read the full article here.