Robert F. Smith is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Vista Equity Partners. He directs Vista’s investment strategy and decisions, firm governance, and investor relations. Vista currently manages equity capital commitments of over $31 billion and oversees a portfolio of over 50 software companies that employ over 55,000 people worldwide. Since Vista’s founding in 2000, Mr. Smith has overseen over 350 completed transactions by the firm representing over $100 billion in transaction value.
In 2017, Smith was named by Forbes as one of the 100 Greatest Living Business Minds. Previously, Smith worked for Goldman Sachs in Tech M&A and Kraft General Foods, where he earned four patents. Smith is the first African-American to sign on to the Giving Pledge. His gift of $20 million was the largest by an individual donor to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Smith is the Chairman of Carnegie Hall and the Chair of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. He serves on the Board of Overseers of Columbia Business School, as a Member of the Cornell Engineering College Council, and a Trustee of the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Francisco.
Smith earned his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University, which In January 2016, honored Mr. Smith’s leadership by naming the Robert Fredrick Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Smith also received his MBA with honors from Columbia Business School. Smith was born in Denver, Colorado, the son of two EdD educators who instilled in him an appreciation for the power of learning, the importance of access to opportunity, and the obligation we all share to apply our unique skills to change society for the better.
Mr. Smith’s business achievements and global philanthropic works have received recognition from numerous entities – including the Morehouse Candle Award in Business and Philanthropy, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Chair’s Award, the Reginald F. Lewis Achievement Award, the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Robert Toigo Foundation, the Ripple of Hope Award from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, the Award of Excellence from the National Association of Investment Companies, the Pierre Toussaint Award from the Archdiocese of New York, the Columbia University BBSA Distinguished Alumni Award, and the Ron Brown Scholar Program American Journey Award.