Russell Labe

Past Awards

George E. Kimball Medal: Awardee(s)
2017 - Awardee(s)

Russell Labe has been a practitioner of Operations Research for 38 years.  He started his career working for 8 years at RCA Operations Research Group and spent the following 28 years at Merrill Lynch, where he helped establish the first Management Science group on Wall Street in 1986.  Russ was director of the group for 10 years and retired in 2015 from Bank of America as the Director of Merrill Lynch Analytics & Modeling, leading a group of 5 departments and 50 analysts.  In retirement he established his own consulting firm, RPL Analytics Consulting.  Russ received his BA in Mathematics from Lebanon Valley College and his MEng in Operations Research from Cornell University.

During his career, Russ focused on applying operations research and analytic methodologies to industry problems in the areas of product pricing, liquidity risk, revenue forecasting, client attrition, product propensity, investment asset allocation, marketing effectiveness, and sales force compensation.  Projects completed by the Merrill Lynch team provided documented benefits of $100M+ in annual revenue enhancement and cost reduction.  During his tenure, Russ helped Merrill Lynch win 3 major INFORMS practice prizes: the INFORMS Prize in 1997, the Edelman Prize in 2001, and the Wagner Prize in 2004.  He was a co-author of several articles published in Interfaces and the Journal of Product Innovation Management.

Russ has been a member of INFORMS and its predecessor TIMS since 1981.  He served on the INFORMS Board for 2 years as VP of Practice.  He was elected an INFORMS Fellow in 2014.  He was heavily active in the Practice Section (formerly CPMS) where he served as Chair for 4 years and Council member for 25+ years.  He was the Merrill Lynch company representative on the Roundtable for 12 years and served as Secretary of the Roundtable Executive Committee for 4 years.  Russ chaired the Edelman Prize Committee for 2 years and served as a coach and judge numerous times.  He also served as a judge for the INFORMS Prize, the Wagner Prize, and the UPS Prize.  He served as Chair of the Edelman Gala Committee for 2 years and was a member of the Investment Committee for 8 years. 

For his many contributions to the field of operations research, and for his distinguished service to INFORMS, the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences expresses its sincere appreciation to Russell Labe by awarding him the 2017 George E. Kimball Medal.

INFORMS Elected Fellows: Awardee(s)

Daniel H. Wagner Prize for Excellence in Operations Research Practice: Winner(s)
Winning material: Liquidity Risk of Revolving Credit Lines

Franz Edelman Award: Winner(s)
Winning material: Pricing Analysis for Merrill Lynch Integrated Choice
2001 - Winner(s)

In early 1999, Merrill Lynch and other full-service financial service firms were under relentless assault. The advent of electronic trading and the commoditization of trading threatened the very core of Merrill Lynch's value proposition — to provide advice and guidance through a financial consultant. In response, management decided to create a new offering to provide investors with more choices. A team developed two models to evaluate different combinations of product structures and prices. The models showed that revenue at risk to Merrill Lynch ranged from $200 million to $1 billion. The resulting Integrated Choice strategy enabled Merrill Lynch to take the marketplace initiative, changed the financial services landscape, and mitigated the revenue risk. As of year-end 2000, client assets reached $83 billion in the new offer, net new assets totaled $22 billion and incremental revenue from fees and margin interest reached $80 million.

Access the winning project’s companion paper