Neil Doherty, 1959-2017

A researcher who transformed our understanding of how information systems can deliver benefits for organisations has died

February 23, 2017
Neil Doherty, 1959-2017

Neil Doherty was born in southeast London on 7 February 1959 and educated at the Bexley and Erith Technical High School for Boys before going on to a degree in management science at Loughborough University (1981).

He started his working life in industry and spent several years as a programmer, systems analyst and team leader at Marathon Oil. In 1986, however, he decided to continue his studies and embark on a master’s in engineering and production management at the University of Birmingham (1987). He followed this up with a PhD in software engineering at the University of Bradford (1992).

In 1991, Professor Doherty returned to Loughborough to pursue an academic career, eventually as professor of information management.

His research was always strongly practical in its focus, looking at how people in organisations can best use information systems to achieve results and overcome challenges. He recently served as a judge for the UK and Ireland SAP Quality Awards, designed to celebrate significant achievements in business transformation, fast delivery and innovation.

Along with his research, Professor Doherty was a kind and insightful supervisor and a popular, self-effacing teacher. He played an important role in the information systems community, as a board member of the UK Academy for Information Systems and a senior editor for Information Systems Journal and Information Technology & People.

For several years, he also took on the challenging role of director of staffing in the School of Business and Economics at Loughborough. This inevitably required him sometimes to deliver unwelcome news to colleagues, and he would joke that he needed a T-shirt with the word “Sorry!” printed on the front and back.

However, his generous character and personality meant that he remained universally liked within the school, and he was honoured with the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in 2015. He went on to receive a long service medal for 25 years at Loughborough in 2016.

A colleague described Professor Doherty as someone who “would have wanted us to celebrate his life, not be consumed by work, and to get out there, go for a walk, see the world, probably via a pub”. A keen cyclist and sports enthusiast, he spent many hours on his allotment and was sufficiently passionate about the environment to give up driving and walk to work.

Professor Doherty died in his sleep on 23 January and is survived by his wife Louise and two daughters.

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Reader's comments (1)

Lovely man. Inspiring academic. Will be very much missed - especially by UKAIS colleagues.

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