Follett Corp. has announced that the company board has named Patrick Connolly to succeed Ray Griffith as president and CEO of the educational wholesaler and services business. Griffith has served as president and CEO since May 2015, and will officially retire at the end of the fiscal year in March. Connolly will begin at Follett on January 2.

Connolly will join Follett from Sodexo, a Paris-based firm where he was CEO of Universities Worldwide. The unit is a global business one at Sodexo that supports the university and K-12 market in 30 countries, including 850 universities and 750 school districts in the U.S. Connolly began at Sodexo in 1989, as a regional sales rep.

In a statement, Follett chairman Todd A. Litzsinger said Connolly is the right person to continue the expansion begun by Griffith. "Pat's experience, leadership style and understanding of education make him the ideal choice to succeed Ray and lead Follett into the future,” Litzsinger said.

During his tenure as CEO, Griffith, a PW Notable Person for 2017, is credited for leading Follett through a series of acquisitions, among them more than 200 Nebraska Book Company retail campus stores in 2015 and the 2016 purchase of Baker & Taylor. Earlier this year, B&T announced it was entering the trade distribution business and Follett announced it will start a new book fair business to compete with Scholastic.