OCLC has had five presidents since its inception. Frederick G. Kilgour was President and Chief Executive Officer from 1967 to 1980 and retired from the OCLC Board of Trustees in February 1995 after having served as Permanent Founder Trustee since 1980. Rowland C. W. Brown was President and CEO of OCLC from 1980 to 1989. Dr. K. Wayne Smith served as President and CEO of OCLC from 1989 through April 1998. Jay Jordan was President and CEO from May 1998 to 2013. Skip Prichard became President and CEO in July 2013.
Skip is the fifth president of OCLC since its founding in 1967. Attracted to OCLC’s public purpose, he joined OCLC in 2013 after leading several multi-national organizations that provide a variety of services and content to libraries around the world. Among Prichard’s many passions is his Leadership Insights blog where he interviews authors and thought leaders, and shares his views on a number of topics. His views on the future of books, publishing, and libraries have been featured in various national and international media. He is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences around the world.
Under Jay Jordan’s leadership, OCLC built a new technological platform, introduced new services, created a library advocacy program, and introduced new initiatives to make library holdings and libraries more visible to people everywhere on the Internet through agreements with Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft. The number of OCLC members increased to 16,956 in 109 countries. OCLC's WorldCat database grew to 2 billion library holding symbols and more than 300 million bibliographic records. Non-English records found in WorldCat increased to 60 percent, nearly doubling since 1998.
Dr. K. Wayne Smith increased the scope of service of the OCLC computer network to 8,303 members institutions in 64 countries. The number of records in WorldCat grew to 38 million, with 331 million location listings. OCLC introduced the first online end-user reference service (FirstSearch) and began making its services available on the Internet.
Rowland C. W. Brown expanded OCLC’s services to some 60 offerings and opened OCLC’s first office outside the U.S. in Birmingham, England. The cooperative started looking at ways that it could move beyond bibliographic information and provide the information itself—the book or the article. The number of member libraries grew from 2,300 in the U.S. and Canada to 4,826 in 27 countries.
Frederick G. Kilgour presided over OCLC’s rapid growth from an intrastate network to an international network. In addition to creating the WorldCat database, he developed an online interlibrary loan system in 1979 that libraries use today to arrange nearly 10 million loans.