Robert F. Smith

Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Vista Equity Partners |


Mr. Smith directs Vista’s investment strategy and decisions, governance, and investor relations. Vista currently manages equity capital commitments of over $52 billion and oversees a portfolio of over 60 software companies that employ more than 70,000 people worldwide. Since Vista’s founding in 2000, Mr. Smith has managed more than 415 completed transactions by the firm representing over $130 billion in transaction value. In 2017, Smith was named one of the 100 Greatest Living Business Minds by Forbes.

Mr. Smith received his BS in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University and his MBA from Columbia Business School.  He began his career at Kraft General Foods, where he earned two United States and two European patents. In 1994, Smith joined Goldman Sachs in tech investment banking, first in New York and then in Silicon Valley. As Co-Head of Enterprise Systems and Storage, he executed and advised on over $50 billion in merger and acquisition activity with companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Texas Instruments, eBay, and Yahoo. He was the first person in San Francisco at Goldman to focus solely on tech mergers and acquisitions.

Mr. 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 as a Trustee of the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Francisco. Smith is the only African American to sign The Giving Pledge and was the largest individual donor to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

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