J Bruce Ismay was the managing director (or president) of the White Star Line. It was he that came up with the idea of the 3 Olympic Class White Star ships. After the Olympic made it to New York breaking White Star's speed record, he was determined to make each Olympic class liner better than the one before.
TITANIC's captain, EJ Smith would have lived if it weren't for J Bruce Ismay (this is once again, in my opinion). I believe that he pressured Smith to captain the TITANIC, even though he wanted to retire. Therefore, since Smith did not survive the disaster, I think that Ismay is in a way responsible for his death.
I also believe that Ismay pressured Captain Smith to make the ship steam towards New York faster. Smith was probably lying when he said to his officers that there was nothing to worry about, and that they would see anything big enough to damage the ship in plenty of time. These things may be due to Ismay, but also may be Smith's own fault. EJ had never been faced with a serious disaster of any sort, and before the TITANIC sailed he said that he could not imagine any situation that would cause a ship to founder. He said, "...modern ship building has gone beyond that!"
"Today we did better than yesterday, and tomorrow we shall do better still. We shall beat the Olympic's time to New York and arrive Tuesday night!"
- J Bruce Ismay
"Ismay is responsible for the lack of lifeboats, he is responsible for the captain who was so reckless, for the lack of discipline of the crew, and for the sailing directions given to the captain which probably caused his recklessness. In the face of all this he saves himself, leaving fifteen hundred men and women to perish. I know of nothing at once so cowardly and so brutal in recent history. The one thing he could have done was to prove his honesty and his sincerity by giving his life."
- Brooke Adams