Underline Science Announces New Appointments to Board of Directors
Underline Science, the premier virtual conference venue for events in science, medicine and academia, announced today that it has appointed Robert VanHees, President and Chief Financial Officer of ProQuest, and Rafael Sidi, formerly SVP at ProQuest and General Manager of the ProQuest Information Solutions business unit, to its board of directors.
The announcement follows a significant investment in Underline from ProQuest, a global leader in educational technology, with additional investment from Rafael Sidi. This funding will enable Underline to extend the reach of its video platform for scientific and scholarly conferences, providing opportunities to accelerate scientific discovery.
Earlier this year, Underline launched the world’s first live-streaming platform specifically designed for scientific and academic conferences, lectures, and research discussions. Underline’s mission is to capture and disseminate scientific knowledge through video, making it globally accessible by enriching and preserving both virtual and hybrid conference content. Through Underline, conferences – physical and virtual – can reach new global audiences, while conference attendees have the flexibility to watch and re-watch any lecture any place, any time.
"We are pleased to welcome Robert and Rafael as new directors to the Underline Science board of directors," said Alex Lazinica, founder and CEO of Underline Science. "They join Underline at an exciting time as we continue to grow the company and scale Underline’s unique streaming conference platform. Their addition complements our board, and we are confident they will provide valuable expertise and leadership as we continue to execute our strategy and transform the scientific and academic conference industry."
“I look forward to working alongside Underline’s team and supporting their mission to extend the reach of scholarly events,” said Robert VanHees, President and Chief Financial Officer, ProQuest. “Building global connections to advance knowledge and education is a cornerstone of our work at ProQuest, and at the heart of Underline’s vision to advance scientific discovery.”
“Academic conferences and events play a central role in society, and this market is going through a digital transformation, accelerated by the impact of Covid-19,” said Rafael Sidi. “Underline is leading this evolution with their conference streaming and aggregation platform, and I am excited to join the Underline board and work with Alex and his talented team. I look forward to the creation of superior and sustainable conference experiences for all stakeholders and to making this important content accessible to the global research community.”
About Robert VanHees
Robert VanHees serves as President and Chief Financial Officer at ProQuest, where he oversees the company’s financial functions, including financial operations, accounting, procurement, treasury, taxation and investor relations.
Mr. VanHees joined ProQuest from JLL Partners, a private equity firm, where he was an Operating Partner for five years, partnering with management to oversee strategy and operations. Prior to that, he served as CFO of the Learning Care Group, a childcare and early education provider. Earlier in his career, he was CFO for Corporate Express North America and Corporate Express Europe, and held several roles in financial planning and analysis, treasury, and audit functions. Mr. VanHees earned his B.A. in Accounting and an MBA at Michigan State University.
About Rafael Sidi
Rafael Sidi is a senior information industry executive recognized for leading content and education technology businesses in creating world class innovative information and analytic SaaS products. Rafael served as Senior Vice President and General Manager for ProQuest Information Solutions, the largest ProQuest business unit, focused on developing information and analytics solutions to improve researcher’s and librarian’s outcomes in global academic and education technology markets. Mr. Sidi joined ProQuest in 2013 after a dozen years at Elsevier, where he held several senior management positions, including head of product management and development for many of the company’s largest, most successful and innovative information solutions. Prior to Elsevier, Mr. Sidi was Director of e-commerce operations for Bolt Media Inc., a social network platform. Mr. Sidi holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Istanbul’s Bosphorus University and an MA from Brandeis University.
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