James V. Kimsey is a lifelong Washingtonian, born in the District of Columbia and raised in nearby Arlington, Virginia. He attended St. John’s College High School, graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and studied at Georgetown University on an honors scholarship.
Kimsey is most widely known as the Founding CEO of America Online, Inc. (AOL). He transformed what began as Quantum Computer Services in 1985 into the nation’s leading independent provider of interactive online services to consumers, and the largest company ever started in Washington.
In 1996 he became AOL Chairman Emeritus and turned his energies to new challenges in business, philanthropy and personal diplomacy through the creation of the Kimsey Foundation ( www.kimseyfoundation.org ). While the foundation provides grants that benefit the community in areas from the arts to education, its overarching mission is to level the playing field for Washington's disadvantaged youth through education and technology.
Over the past 25 years, Jim has founded and served on the boards of a number of successful businesses, in a variety of disciplines, in the Washington , D.C. area. In 1994, he was named Business Leader of the Year by Washingtonian magazine. In 1998, he received KPMG Peat Marwick's High Tech Entrepreneur Award, the American Academy of Achievement's Golden Plate Award, and the first annual I Have A Dream award from the "I Have A Dream"' Foundation. In 1999 Jim received the Horatio Alger Award and a place in the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame. In May of 2003, Jim received the first Kellogg Award for Distinguished Leadership from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. He currently holds Presidential appointments to the West Point Board of Visitors and the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees.
Jim is also deeply engaged in international affairs. Jim has accompanied former President Clinton to Vietnam and in his position as Chairman of the Board of Refugees International he has visited Bosnia , Timbuktu and Cambodia to assess refugee repatriation, land mine removal and the other human rights concerns. In 2001 Jim was named Chairman of the International Commission of Missing Persons (ICMP) in Bosnia , by Secretary of State Colin Powell. The ICMP is an organization dedicated to identifying the more than 40,000 missing from the conflicts in the regions of the former Yugoslavia , through DNA research. Furthermore, Jim readily loaned ICMP DNA experts and analysts to help in the recovery process of those who perished in the Attack on America on September 11 th , 2001. He most recently traveled to Iraq to assess the humanitarian situation left in the wake of Saddam Hussein's exile.
Jim served three combat tours as an airborne ranger, two in Vietnam , earning various awards for service and valor. Jim also built and staffed an orphanage in Vietnam after the completion of his first tour. He would continue to support that orphanage for three decades.
He is a member of the board of directors of several companies, including Capital One Financial Corporation and Thayer Capital. He also contributes his leadership to numerous civic and charitable organizations. He is Chairman of the Washington Opera, on the Executive Committee of the National Symphony and on the board of Georgetown University.
Jim has three grown sons, Mike, Mark and Ray. Currently, Jim resides in Mclean , Virginia.