William R. King

TIMS President, 1989-1990

When William R. King became the 36th President of TIMS he consulted widely with senior members concerning an idea that he had heard discussed since his days as a graduate student—the possibility of merging TIMS and ORSA. He concluded that, despite the diverse opinions and rationales that he was offered, there was enough support for a merger to justify convening an informal weekend meeting at a Dulles Airport hotel at which various people were charged with presenting arguments, pro and con, concerning the desirability of merging the two organizations To the surprise of many participants, the virtually-unanimous conclusion reached at the end of the meeting was that a merger proposal should be developed.

King and Donald Gross, the then-President of ORSA, agreed to appoint a Joint TIMS-ORSA Merger Planning Committee that designed a merged organization—INFORMS—and obtained the approval of both Councils for the merger plan. The merged organization came into existence in 1995.

Prior to his presidency, Bill served as VP-Member Activities. In that role, he concentrated on informing members about the many activities and services provided by TIMS. As Past President, he secured approval of an amendment to the By-Laws giving the Past President more significant duties than had previously been the case.

He conceived of, secured external funding for, obtained Council approval for and then chaired the nominating committee for the first editor of a new journal, Information Systems Research, the most respected research journal in Information Systems (IS). He served as the second Editor-in-Chief of the MIS Quarterly, the oldest research-oriented journal in that field. He was a Founder and twice chaired or co-chaired the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS).

Subsequent to his major TIMS involvements, Bill created, and was Founding President of a new 4000 member international academic professional organization, the Association for Information Systems (AIS).

After obtaining his BS and being commissioned as an officer in the Air Force, he worked briefly as an industrial engineer and then attended Case Institute of Technology primarily because an MS degree would enable him to obtain a better non-flying assignment in the Air Force. He obtained his PhD there under the tutelage of Russell L. Ackoff. That experience changed his career goal from being a jet pilot to being a professor and consultant. Bill taught at Case and at the Air Force Institute of Technology (while on active duty in the Air Force) before joining the University of Pittsburgh's Katz Graduate School of Business in 1967. In 1976-77, he took leave to work as a senior staff member on the U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget where he performed studies that impacted new laws governing military personnel systems. He retired from Pitt in 2008 with the rank of University Professor.

He is the author of more than 300 papers and 17 books, the most recent being Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning (Springer, 2009). His first paper, authored as a graduate student in 1962, appeared in Management Science. It described a technique he developed and applied for scoring the relative desirability of geographic markets for marketing expansion. His method was the first decision-support application of multivariate discriminant analysis. It has since been applied to developing the well-known FICO scores and in numerous other decision contexts. He conceived of and developed a methodology for strategic planning for information systems--an activity that had previously been carried out only in a budgeting context. He and a collaborator created the reciprocal concept which formed the basis for creating strategic information systems that could provide competitive advantage for a firm.

Bill’s awards include Inaugural Fellow of INFORMS, Inaugural Fellow of AIS, Fellow of the Decision Science Institute and a full member of the Association for the Advancement of Science. He received the Leo Award for distinguished lifetime achievement from AIS. His books received many awards and foreign publications including the McKinsey Foundation Award for his coauthored Systems Analysis and Project Management as a seminal contribution to management and the AIIE's Book-of-the-Year Award for his co-edited Project Management Handbook.

Before 2002-2003, when he had major surgeries, Bill was an active licensed private pilot, certified powerboat and sailboat captain, skier, and scuba diver.

BSIE (Penn State) 1960; MS, 1962(Operations Research) and PhD (Operations Research), 1964, Case Institute of Technology.