J. Kevin Gilligan , , , Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Kevin Gilligan joined Capella Education Company as CEO in 2009, when he also was appointed to the company's board of directors. He was named chairman of the board in 2010. His previous experience includes more than 20 years of executive experience in service industries. From 2004 to 2009, he was president and CEO of United Subcontractors, Inc. (USI), a national construction services firm based in Edina, Minnesota. Previously he was president and CEO of Honeywell International's second largest business, Automation and Control Systems, where he oversaw 43,000 employees and revenues of $7.5 billion. He joined Honeywell in 1977, and held a variety of executive positions with national and international responsibilities. Gilligan is a graduate of Boston College, with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics & Political Science. He sits on the board of directors of Graco, and is a former lead director on the board of directors of ADC.

Steven L. Polacek , , , Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer

Steven L. Polacek joined Capella Education Company in 2010 as senior vice president and chief financial officer. He brings more than 25 years of finance and strategic business experience to Capella. Prior to joining Capella, he served as senior vice president and chief financial officer at Hutchinson Technology Incorporated, a publicly traded global technology leader supplying critical components to the disk drive industry and new technologies to improve the quality of health care. Previously, Polacek was senior vice president, chief administrative officer and chief financial officer at Minneapolis-based Opus Corporation; served as partner from 2002 to 2005 with Deloitte & Touche LLP; and began his career with Arthur Andersen LLP in 1982, became partner in 1993, and was the managing partner of the Minneapolis office from 1995 to 2002. Polacek previously served on the board of directors for C. H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. He earned his bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln.

Renee L. Jackson , , , Senior Vice President and General Counsel

Renee L. Jackson serves as senior vice president and general counsel for Capella Education Company. She joined Capella in 2014, having served prior to that in key legal positions in publicly held information and predictive analytic companies and as a partner in an international law firm. Most recently she was general counsel of The Dolan Company, and prior to that served as associate general counsel of Fair Isaac Corporation. Before joining Fair Isaac Corporation in 2005, she was a partner with Norton Rose Fulbright LLP, where she tried intellectual property and commercial cases and served as administrative partner of the firm’s Minneapolis office. She began her career at Dorsey & Whitney LLP in 1991 after graduating from the University of Minnesota Law School. She earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of Florida.

Peter M. Ramstad , , , Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer

Peter M. Ramstad joined Capella in 2015 as senior vice president and chief human resources officer. He brings a wide variety of experience to Capella, including extensive consulting experience in human resources, finance and strategy, as well as his experience in leading and consulting with HR functions in a variety of contexts. Most recently, he was vice president of human resources and business development for The Toro Company, where his role included oversight of the global HR function, as well as leadership of the business development team which completed several acquisitions during his tenure. Prior to Toro, he was a senior executive with Personnel Decisions International (PDI), where he was chief financial officer, before moving into a consulting role and establishing the firm’s strategy practice. Pete co-authored the book “Beyond HR” which was published by Harvard Business School Press. He earned a bachelor of science degree in math and accounting from the University of Minnesota.

Richard Senese, PhD , , , Capella University President and Chief Academic Officer

Dr. Richard (Dick) Senese serves as president and chief academic officer for Capella University. He served as vice president of Academic Affairs and chief academic officer for Capella University since 2014 and became interim president in 2015.

Prior to returning to Capella, Dr. Senese served in leadership roles with the University of Minnesota Extension for 13 years. He has taught at a number of Minnesota-based institutions, including St. Olaf College, Metropolitan State University, and the College of St. Scholastica, and served previously as the associate dean for Capella University’s Harold Abel School of Psychology.

Dr. Senese received his PhD from the University of Minnesota through the Counseling and Student Personnel Psychology program within the Department of Educational Psychology. He is a licensed psychologist and active in community affairs in his native Minnesota.

Andrew Watt , , , Senior Vice President of Post-Secondary Education, Capella Education Company

Andy Watt serves as senior vice president of Post-Secondary Education for Capella Education Company. Prior to being promoted, he served as vice president of Colleges and University Operations and Capella University’s chief operations officer since 2014.

Since joining Capella in 2002, Andy has held a variety of leadership positions across the university, including roles in Operations, Finance, Analytics and our Markets & Products team. Before joining Capella, Andy worked in transaction advisory services at both Deloitte & Touche LLP and Arthur Andersen LLP. Watt graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting.