Robert F. Smith

Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Vista Equity Partners

Robert F. Smith is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, a leading global asset manager investing in enterprise software companies transforming our world. Prior to founding Vista, Smith began his career as an engineer at Goodyear Tire and Kraft Foods before transitioning to investment banking at Goldman Sachs.

Smith currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Business Roundtable, the Board of Overseers of Columbia Business School, as a Member of the Cornell Engineering College Council, and is a Founding Member of the World Economic Forum EDISON Alliance, a cross-sector initiative to accelerate digital inclusion and eliminate connectivity deserts. He is Chairman of Carnegie Hall, former Chair of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights, and a Founding Partner of the REFORM Alliance.

Smith is the Founding Director and President of the Fund II Foundation, which is dedicated to preserving the African American experience, human rights, environmental conservation and a broad range of other initiatives. In 2017, Smith signed the Giving Pledge, the first African American to do so. In 2019, Smith announced he would cover the student loans of nearly 400 Morehouse College graduates in a commencement address. After his Morehouse pledge, Smith founded the Student Freedom Initiative to help relieve student debt for STEM students at all HBCUs.

Smith is a strong advocate for the 2% Solution – calling on corporations to commit 2% of their annual net income to empower minority communities. He also leads the Southern Communities Initiative with Rich Lesser (Boston Consulting Group) and Dan Schulman (PayPal), to advance racial equity in six Southern communities that are home to half of all Black people in America.

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