Chief Executive Officer |

Dr. Jim Goodnight, CEO of SAS Institute

May 12, 2014

Among other topics, Dr. Goodnight discusses the following issues with Metis Strategy:

  • The development of the Statistical Analysis System (SAS), Jim’s rise as an entrepreneur and the growth of the SAS Institute from a small startup supported by NC State University to becoming one of the world’s largest private software company.
  • The uniqueness of SAS Institute’s culture and Jim’s philosophy of the importance of culture to motivate and retain the best talent.
  • The advantages and reasons behind the SAS Institute remaining a private company across its 35 year history and the advantages this legacy in analytics provides to the Institute compared to its younger competitors.
  • The state of computer science at the educational level and the lack of a focus on analytics in the majority of computer science departments across the country.
  • The importance of motivating more American youth to pursue the STEM areas of study to support future growth and success of technology in the US.
  • Eye on the trends: Analytics, although a field that has been in existence for many years, is growing in importance as the focus on processing larger volumes of data faster becomes even more central to a company’s strategic growth.

Dr. Jim Goodnight’s Biography

Jim is one of the creators of SAS software and is the Chief Executive Officer of SAS Institute, the developer of analytics software that owns the largest market share for advanced analytics. Jim co-founded SAS Institute as a faculty member of North Carolina State University in 1976 and has been CEO since.

Jim along with fellow faculty member Anthony James Barr were the project leaders for the early development of SAS and when the software reached 100 customers in 1976, Jim and three colleagues founded the SAS Institute after leaving the University. As CEO, Jim has grown the company from a $138,000, 21 employee company in the late 1970s to a $3.02 B, 13,739 employee company in 2013. Under Jim’s leadership, the SAS Institute has been profitable every year in its 35 years as a private company and between 1984 and 2012 has made 19 successful acquisitions.

In 2004, Jim was named a Great American Business Leader by Harvard and was also named one of America’s 25 Most Fascinating Entrepreneurs by Inc. Magazine the same year. He also frequently speaks and participates at the World Economic Forum. Jim is also ranked 58 on the Forbes 400 Richest Americans list with a net worth of $7.2 B.

Jim holds a Master’s degree and a PhD in Statistics from North Carolina State University where he was a faculty member from 1972 to 1976.

The World Class IT principles in yellow were the focus of this interview

  • 01 1- People
  • 02 2- Infrastructure
  • 03 3- Project and Portfolio Management
  • 04 4- IT & Business Partnership
  • 05 5- External Partnerships

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