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Zbigniew Kmietowicz, BSc, Dip Stats

We are very sorry to have to let members know that Mr Zbigniew (‘Kim’) Kmietowicz, former Lecturer in the School of Business and Economic Studies, died on 21 August 2011.

Born in Poland in 1935, Mr Kmietowicz read Economics at Leeds and graduated in 1958.  He then completed a Diploma in Economic Statistics at the University of Manchester. Employed in the Operational Research Department of Guest, Keen and Nettlefold from 1960 to 1962, he left the company to take up a post as Statistician with the Ugandan Government, where he was responsible for the first national income and expenditure survey in rural areas.  This was to be the beginning of a lifetime interest and involvement in the development of statistics in East African nations.

Kim Kmietowicz returned to Leeds in 1964, on his appointment as Lecturer in Economic Statistics in the then Department of Economics and Commerce.  He developed specialist expertise in three main areas: economic statistics and measurement methodology, notably the design and compilation of indices of production and income distribution for developing countries; decision analysis under conditions of uncertainty; and, marrying theoretical and empirical work, wider applied statistical issues in the broader field of social science.  His work in each of these areas attracted considerable recognition, with a long series of articles appearing in major journals such as the Journal of Management Studies, the Journal of the Operational Research Society, the Journal of Applied Statistics and the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society.  Much of his work on decision theory was undertaken in collaboration with Professor Alan Pearman. Their research was initially concerned with making major investment decisions under conditions of incomplete information and uncertainty, and was later expanded into a general theory of decision-making under such conditions.  Their book Decision Theory and Incomplete Knowledge was published in 1991. In terms of the number of copies produced, perhaps the most influential of Mr Kmietowicz’s publications was Mathematical, Statistical and Financial Tables for the Social Sciences. Produced in 1976 in collaboration with Y Yannoulis, and well known to many cohorts of Leeds economics and social science students, this slim volume was reprinted on several occasions. A German edition also appeared. Total sales were approaching thirty thousand by the mid-1990s.  Mr Kmietowicz also published on the statistical significance of opinion poll leads and the measurement of income inequality.

To his teaching across the full range of mathematical and statistical subjects within economics, Kim Kmietowicz invariably brought meticulous care and preparation. He was an effective supervisor of a number of research students and was also a generous source of advice on statistical methods to any postgraduate student who sought his guidance.  In his later years, he assumed much of the responsibility within the School for the recruitment and pastoral support of international undergraduates, a task which he fulfilled with conspicuous success.

The expertise of Mr Kmietowicz was extensively sought after by other organisations and he was seconded from his University duties on a number of occasions in order to enable him to take up senior appointments in Africa.  These included serving as Senior Lecturer in Economics at the University of Nairobi (1968-70); United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) Adviser in Industrial Statistics to the East African Community (Common Market Secretariat) (1970-71); Senior Adviser in Economic Statistics to the Institute of Statistics and Applied Economics at the University of Makerere, Uganda (1983-4); UNIDO Adviser in Industrial Statistics to the Ugandan Ministry of Industry (1988); and as ODA Adviser in Economic Statistics to the Zambian Central Statistical Office (1988-90). 

The high academic standing in which Kim Kmietowicz was held as a scholar was also evident in the accolades conferred upon him.  He was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Statistical Society (1974) and to membership of the International Association for Official Statistics (1988) and the International Statistical Institute (1993). Locally, he was an active and enthusiastic member of the Leeds/Bradford Group of the Royal Statistical Society and served as a committee member for a number of years. He retired from his University post in September 1995.

Mr Kmietowicz is survived by his wife, Isabela, and daughters Helena, Zosia and Eva.

The funeral took place on 1 September.