Thomas M. Cook

October 10, 1940

Brief Biography

Cook Presidential Gallery Portrait

Thomas M. Cook was the thirty-seventh President of The Institute of Management Sciences (TIMS) and ninth President of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). He is currently the CEO of TCI, a small analytical consulting firm that specializes in applying operations research to significant business problems. Cook studied mathematics at Grinnell College, a small liberal arts institution in Iowa, receiving his bachelors in 1962. He returned to school and received an MBA from Southern Methodist University prior to studying operations research at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his PhD in the subject in 1972.

Early in his career, Cook developed large information systems at Ling Temco Vought, Inc., a Dallas-based manufacturing conglomerate. He taught courses in operations research, statistics, and computer science at the University of Texas, the University of Tulsa, and Boston University. In the 1980s, he published two books with Robert A. Russell, Contemporary Operations Management: Text and Cases (1980) and Introduction to Management Science (1985).

A significant portion of Cook’s career was spent at American Airlines. He grew what was then a small group of operations research specialists into a major division of the company. The division eventually spun off into Sabre Technology Solutions. For many years, Sabre contained the largest operations research group in the world, becoming a one billion dollar entity. After leaving Sabre for McKinsey & Co., Cook eventually became CEO of CALEB Technologies, an airline decision support software film.  He is a founding partner of Decision Analytics Inc.  Tom led groups that won the initial ORSA Prize (now the INFORMS Prize) in 1991 and Edelman 1st Place Prizes in 1992 (American Airlines), 1997 (Sabre), and 2002 (CALEB). With others, he was awarded the 2016 Impact Prize for contributions in revenue management. 

Cook has been a dedicated member of the professional operations research community. He was an associate editor of Operations Research, Transportation Science, and Interfaces and has been a member of a number of award nominating and selection committees. As President of INFORMS, he initiated and led The Science of Better, a campaign to make the operations research field better understood by its constituencies. As a long time practitioner, he recognized that OR’s unique problem-solving capabilities were little known or appreciated and hence under-utilized in business. To reverse these trends, Cook proposed to identify and implement changes to existing INFORMS programs that would increase the impact of the discipline by creating demand. He worked with the Board of Directors to obtain the necessary funds to initiate this information campaign.

Cook has served as Chairman of a National Academy of Science (NAS) Panel to study the 2010 Census and make recommendations for the 2020 Census and as Chairman of a NAS Standing Committee to advise and help design the 2020 Census.  In August, 2018, Cook was named to the US Census Scientific Advisory Committee.  

Cook is an elected Member of the National Academy of Engineering and was named an inaugural Fellow of INFORMS. In 2007, he was awarded the George E. Kimball medal for his dedicated service to OR/MS and associated professional societies. 

Other Biographies

INFORMS. Miser-Harris Presidential Gallery: Thomas M. Cook. Accessed June 2, 2015. (link)

SlipStream Analytics. Management Bios: Thomas M. Cook. Accessed June 2, 2015. (link)


Grinnell College, BA 1962

Southern Methodist University, MBA 1970

University of Texas, PhD 1972


Academic Affiliations
  • University of Texas
  • Boston University
  • Grinnell College
  • Southern Methodist University
  • University of Tulsa
Non-Academic Affiliations
  • American Airlines
  • McKinsey & Co.
  • American Airlines Decision Technologies
  • Arthur Young and Comppny
  • Ling Temco Vought, Inc.
  • TCI
  • Decision Analytics Inc. 

Key Interests in OR/MS

Application Areas

Oral Histories

Thomas Cook (2021) Interview by Irv Lustig, November 18, 2021.  Naples, FL.

NOTE:  The video chapter transcripts below are searchable, with search results displayed as marks on the time bar above the search box.  Click a mark to jump to the search word or phrase in the video and transcript, or click on any word in the transcript to jump to that point in the video.

Jump to Chapters

Chapter 1: Early Life
Chapter 2: College and Grad School
Chapter 3: Teaching at University of Tulsa
Chapter 4: First Jobs in Industry
Chapter 5: A Subsidiary at American Airlines
Chapter 6: Sabre Decision Technologies
Chapter 7: McKinsey and Caleb Technologies
Chapter 8: Service to INFORMS
Chapter 9: Final Thoughts

Awards and Honors

National Academy of Engineering 1995

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences Fellow 2002

George E. Kimball Medal 2007

INFORMS Impact Prize 2016

Professional Service

The Institute of Management Sciences (TIMS), President 1990-1991

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), President 2003

Selected Publications

Cook T. M. & Russell R. A. (1980) Contemporary Operations Management: Text and Cases. Prentice Hall College Division: Engelwood Cliffs, NJ. 

Avramovich D., Cook T. M., Langston G. D., & Sutherland F. (1982) A decision support system for fleet management: a linear programming approach. Interfaces, 12(3): 1-9.

Cook T. M., Falchi P., & Mariano R. (1984) An urban allocation model combining time series and analytic hierarchical methods.Management Science, 30(2): 198-208.

Cook T. M. & Russell R. A. (1985) Introduction to Management Science. Prentice Hall: Engelwood Cliff, NJ.

Borsting J. R., Cook T. M., King W. R., Rardin R. L., & Tuggle F. D. (1988) A model for a first MBA course in management science/operations research. Interfaces, 18(5): 72-80.