Robert F. Smith is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners. He is the second wealthiest Black person in the world, and the wealthiest Black American, with a net worth of $6.7 billion (2021/10/19).
As Vista’s Chairman and CEO, Mr. Smith directs Vista’s investment strategy and decisions, firm governance and investor relations. Under his leadership, Vista has exclusively focused on the enterprise software, data and technology enabled solutions sectors. Vista currently manages equity capital commitments of over $14 billion and oversees a portfolio of over 30 software companies that employ a combined 28,000 employees worldwide.
Since Vista’s founding in 2000, Mr. Smith has overseen over 140 completed transactions by the firm. During that time, Vista has managed capital for hundreds of limited partners, including many prominent public, private and corporate pension plans, endowments, family offices, and high net worth individuals. The firm has consistently performed in the top measures of PE firms. In 2012, Buyouts magazine awarded the firm’s Vista Equity Partners Fund III the Gold Medal as the top-performing 2007-Vintage Buyout Fund in the U.S.
Personal Attributes and Interests
- Mr. Smith is married to model, healthy living advocate, and fashion editor Hope Dworaczyk.
Prior to founding Vista, Mr. Smith worked for Goldman Sachs, M&A, from 1994 to 2000, in New York and Silicon Valley. As Co-Head of Enterprise Systems and Storage, he executed and advised on over $50B in merger and acquisition activity with companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Texas Instruments, eBay and Yahoo.
Board and Advisor Roles
Mr. Smith currently serves on or participates on all the boards of Vista’s portfolio companies, including Misys, Active Network, and Omnitracs.
Mr. Smith’s business achievements and global philanthropic works have received recognition from numerous entities - including 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, and the Columbia University BBSA Distinguished Alumni Award.
He is the Principal Inventor on two United States and two European patents. He is also an avid fly fisherman.
Philanthropy, Community Service and Memberships
He's a signer of the Bill Gates & Warren Buffett initiative known as the Giving Pledge. The Giving Pledge is a commitment by the world's wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to giving back.
He contributed $20 million to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, making him the museum’s second-highest private donor. In January 2016 he gave $50 million to his alma mater Cornell University, which renamed its school of chemical and bioengineering after him. In June he was named chairman of Carnegie Hall.
Mr. Smith is the Chairman of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, Member of the Cornell Engineering College Council, and a Trustee of the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Francisco. Mr. Smith is a Board Member of Carnegie Hall.
Mr. Smith earned his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University and his MBA from Columbia Business School.