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James V. Kimsey (born February 21, 1939[1] in Washington, D.C.) was the co-founder, CEO, and first chairman of internet service provider America Online (AOL).

Contents

Early life

He grew up in South Arlington, Virginia. After being dismissed from Gonzaga College High School, he attended St. John's College High School, followed by Georgetown University for one term, and then the United States Military Academy at West Point, from which he graduated in 1962. He served in the US Army, becoming a lieutenant and seeing active participation in U.S. interventions in the Dominican Republic and Vietnam. In Vietnam, he made the acquaintance of future generals Wayne A. Downing (who also graduated West Point in 1962) and John Abizaid.

Business

In 1970, after eight years in the military, Kimsey bought a building in downtown Washington D.C., renting out the top floor. On the ground floor he built and opened a bar known as The Exchange. He became successful and opened other bars in the 1970s.[1]

In May 1983, Kimsey became a manufacturing consultant for Control Video Corporation, which was near bankruptcy. He was brought in by his West Point friend Frank Caufield, an investor in the company.[1] CVC was founded by William von Meister to market an online service called Gameline for the Atari 2600 video game console. Von Meister had previously hired Steve Case as a marketing consultant on the recommendation of his brother, investment banker Dan Case. Von Meister quietly left the company in early 1985. Shortly thereafter Control Video was reorganized as Quantum Computer Services, with co-founders Kimsey (CEO), Marc Seriff (CTO) and Steve Case. Kimsey served as CEO until 1995, when Steve Case took the helm.

Kimsey is a key investor in, and a director of private military contracting firm Triple Canopy, Inc.

Miscellaneous

  • In 1996 Kimsey established the Kimsey Foundation.[2]

Quotes

  • "I told Wayne, 'I'm going to send all these guys [in charge] a copy of 'The Godfather.' . . . You've got to think like the Mafia thinks. No, it isn't going to be fair. You're going to whack 'em at home. You're going to do stuff to their families. You've got to play dirty. You've got to get in bed with dirty people. . . . Wayne knows how to think like that." - to General Downing, regarding stategies for dealing with al Qaeda.
  • "I went to Georgetown University for a year. It was on scholarship, and I had everything paid for, but I still couldn't afford to go there. I was by far the poorest kid at Georgetown."
  • "They would look at me and say, My God, how are you ever going to compete with IBM?"

See also

References

External links

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