After gaining a first class degree in Mathematics from Cambridge University John Simmons was recruited by George Booth, J Lyons & Co company secretary as a management trainee and statistician with a brief to review and develop the Lyons business processes. Under his tutelage many innovations to business processes were introduced and in 1932 he established the Systems Research Office.
In 1947 he sent two of his managers to the USA to study if Lyons could learn from American business processes. The outcome of the visit was the famous Standingford/Thompson report suggesting the possibility of computers as an engine for making the company more efficient. He used his own reputation and authority to endorse the idea and the resulting collaboration with Cambridge University and the EDSAC project to build LEO.
He was appointed to the Lyons Board in 1954 as an Employee Director and a year later as a full Director. His reputation in the business world was an important factor in the establishment of LEO, the product of a catering company, as one of the leading computer suppliers in the UK and further afield.
A biographical sketch can be found on pages 209 - 210 of Peter Bird’s book LEO: the World’s First Business Computer.
John Simmons wrote:
'LEO is to the thinking of a manager as a grammar book is to the words of a speaker ... The use of LEO brings a new freedom and power to managerial thinking and decision making and ... a means of unambiguous communication.'
Brighton College published an Obituary upon John Simmons' death: External Link : Click Here >>>
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