VP of IP Rights Acquisition

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - Multiple Locations - Full time

HMH is looking for a pioneering Vice President of IP Rights Acquisition. The right candidate will also possess professional and executive gravitas with a successful track record of outside in strategic viewpoints while driving newer digital first best in class approaches. This position will be remote through at least spring of 2021, and then can be located in Round Rock TX, New York City or in Boston MA. The VP of IP Rights Acquisition is responsible for directing the organization’s strategies, policies and processes in the acquisition of third party permissions, licensing, and creation of wholly owned assets for our impactful, award-winning K-12 curriculum. This team is responsible for ensuring our K-12 programs include engaging, inclusive, diverse content for all subject matters and media types. We are looking for a leader to develop a new vision of IP Rights Acquisition in a digital first, customer focused environment, while operating within project schedules and budgets. The right candidate will have extensive experience in negotiations, and overseeing legal protections for intellectual property directing high profile, complex programs with multiple dependencies.

The successful candidate will be responsible for:

  • Intellectual Property Creation, Commissioning, and Acquisition: Oversees centralized licensing of third-party imagery, art, , text/literary, audio visual assets for HMH K12 organization. Develops strategies and implements workflows, best practices, compliance, and reporting in alignment with broader company strategies. Ensures all licensing of third-party content and creation of HMH wholly-owned content are developed and managed in accordance with established laws, company policies, budgets and schedules.
  • Strategic Planning and Business Partnerships: Drives the importance of quality and accuracy with internal and external stakeholders at every stage of the development process. Builds and maintains successful partnerships with internal and external stakeholders. Successfully identifies, communicates, and/or resolves complex and critical matters in areas of responsibility, which may have significant financial impact on the company’s operations. Acts as a catalyst for establishing and implementing change within IP Acquisition teams. Develops and manages annual budget for areas of responsibility.
  • People Management and Development: Highly experienced in leading, building, and managing high-performance teams through coaching and mentorship in a strong matrix environment (Lean/Agile/Scrum focus extremely helpful). Oversees and manages personal and career development for expert teams of sourcing and contracts professionals. Exceptional people-leading skills. Provides necessary resources, proactively support removing of obstacles to team success and accomplishments.
  • Legal Compliance: Partners with departmental Leadership and HMH Legal on intellectual property and legal issues. Provides strategic inputs to policies on IP acquisition and rights compliance. Directs teams to ensure all licenses and permissions are obtained and asset usage tracked per HMH protocols. Resolves escalated rights management related issues.
  • Industry Expertise / Customer Success Focus: Stays up to date with industry standards, current photography, stock footage, videography, animation, illustration, and rights & permissions processes and technologies in use in the EdTech/information/publishing industry. Brings unique, and best in class industry knowledge to bear within and across the IP business. Coordinates with internal stakeholders and external partners to define, implement, and monitor standard technology usage as appropriate. Uses functional expertise, best practice communication, and leadership skills to manage complex relationships and influence positive change.

The right candidate will need the following qualifications:

  • BS/BA in a related field or equivalent work experience and 15+ years of progressive management experience in related industry or functional area. A minimum of 10 years of relevant job experience.
  • Highly skilled communicator. Verbal and written communication must be professional, comprehensive, clear, direct, and accurate. Must demonstrate expertise in educating and communicating practices and processes to internal and external stakeholders, with a proven background in creating and modeling change.
  • Able to build and maintain lasting cooperative partnerships with internal and external stakeholders and leverages relationships to meet organizational objectives within functional framework. Must have demonstrated success in leading non-direct reports through influence.
  • Exceptional organizational skills and knowledge of sales, marketing, content development and proven experience collaborating with these cross-discipline teams.
  • Strong people-leading skills, with demonstrated ability to influence, develop, coach, and provide support effectively in a matrix environment, working with large cross-functional, multifaceted teams.
  • Proactive problem-solving and risk-mitigation skills as well as clear accounting, appropriate escalation, and resolution communication to stakeholders and leadership. Highly organized and able to manage multiple projects simultaneously and to prioritize. Must have demonstrated track record of delivering successful, complex assignments. Able to use strong analytic skills to interpret data and the associated impact on learning and development.
  • Demonstrates initiative and innovation to successfully lead process improvement efforts, to develop and motivate staff to implement change, to problem solve effectively, and to successfully address changing business conditions.
  • Possess the vision to anticipate changes in industry and translate potential changes to strategies to position HMH for success. Must be able to establish and execute strategies that support company objectives. Must achieve revenue, delivery, and expense targets.
  • Establishes a comprehensive understanding of EdTech/publishing industry business practices and intellectual property law, and guides company management in setting policies and strategies to anticipate the company's future business needs with a clear understanding of associated legal and/or financial risk. Decisions incorporate sound legal principles that protect the integrity of HMH assets and intellectual property rights.

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Boston, Massachusetts
New York
Round Rock, Texas


C Level Executive Leadership

Experience Level

Senior Level

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

As a leading provider of pre-K–12 education content, services, and cutting-edge technology solutions across a variety of media, HMH enables learning in a changing landscape.

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