Alexander Rinnooy Kan (1949) studied mathematics in Leiden and econometrics in Amsterdam. He has held academic positions at a number of universities including Delft University of Technology and Erasmus University Rotterdam. At Erasmus University Rotterdam, he was appointed professor of Operational Research in 1980, before becoming director of the Econometrics Institute in 1983, and Rector Magnificus in 1986. In addition, he was a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. In 2007, he was appointed honorary professor of Policy Analysis in the Private and Public Sectors at the UvA.
From 1991-1996, Rinnooy Kan was president of the Confederation of Netherlands Industry (VNO) and, after a merger with the Netherlands Christian Workers Union (NCW), the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW). He joined the executive board of bank and insurer ING, where he remained a member until June 2006. From 2006 until 2012, he was a Crown-appointed member and chairman of the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands.