Raymond W. Smith
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Raymond W. Smith rose from an entry level management trainee at Bell Telephone of Pennsylvania to the Chairman and CEO of Verizon Communications (formerly Bell Atlantic). Prior to becoming chairman and chief executive officer of Bell Atlantic, Ray held the titles of president and chief financial officer. He also served as AT&T’s director of finance.
Under his leadership, Smith refashioned the company into the largest communications corporation in the country, positioning the firm globally in the expanding markets of the future. During his tenure, Bell Atlantic acquired NYNEX and GTE, two of the largest transactions in business history. In 1998 Fortune magazine listed Bell Atlantic as the number one communications company in terms of increased shareholder value over the previous ten years. It ranked 17th out of the top 1000 companies.
In 1999, he retired as chairman of New York-based Verizon after ten years as the corporation's top officer.
Following his retirement from Verizon, he founded Arlington Capital Partners (ACP), an investment company that has successfully completed two offerings: ACP I at $450M and ACP II at $650M.
Smith also became the Chairman of Rothschild Inc. and N.M. Rothschild & Sons Canada Limited in 1999. He guided Rothschild’s presence in the Americas through the banking crisis without a single restatement or blemish.
He and his second wife, Phyllis, have five children and ten grandchildren between them. He has been a playwright, director, producer and actor in more than 50 productions in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. The Player’s Club of Swarthmore has named one of its theaters after him. He has also become a sought-after artist with scores of paintings.
As a poet, he has produced hundreds of offerings over the years, most recently in a book of his poetry, Songs of No Consequence. Also, he has written the following books and plays: Reigh’s Myth, The Burial of My Cat, Chamber Music, Dormont, Ask Not for Whom, The Warhol Unit, Egyptian Baskets, Janjaweed, The Fetal Pig, Time-X, The Most Eminent Saga of Harold Bluetooth, Arrival in Nine Hours, and Nineteeneleven.
He is a well-traveled scholar with special emphasis on the culture of Ancient Egypt. He negotiated a long term loan of a collection of Egyptian antiquities from Eton College to Johns Hopkins University. He has also traveled to Uganda, Viet Nam and Thailand with the Rockefeller Foundation and to China and the Middle East as a Special Envoy of the State Department. His most recent scholarly trip was to Antarctica.
Smith serves on the following civic boards: the Royal Shakespeare Company, Curtis Institute of Music Advisory Board, Central Park Conservancy, George Mason Life Sciences Advisory Board, the Library of Congress, the American Research Center in Egypt - Presidential Appointee, and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.
Over the years, Smith has served on the boards of Bell Atlantic, the Carnegie Corporation, Westinghouse, CBS, Corestates Financial, First Union (now Wells Fargo), US Airways, NTT DoCoMo, the Carnegie Corporation Board of Trustees; the Rockefeller Foundation, the Lincoln Center Board of Trustees, President’s Committee on the Arts & Humanities, University of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees, the Philadelphia Orchestra-Director, National Forum on Education & Technology, President’s Committee for Educational Technology-Founding Member, Board of Overseers of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences-University of Pennsylvania, Board of Visitors of the Fuqua School of Business-Duke University, the Urban Affairs Partnership-Director, the Franklin Institute-Director, the Business Roundtable, Business Higher Education Forum, Challenger Center for Space Science Education Board, Private Sector Council – National Advisory Board, Arden Theater Company – Board of Advisors, Bell Communications Research, Inc.-Director, AMPS, Inc., Philadelphia Urban Coalition-Director, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania–Director and Chairman of the Management Committee, Delaware Valley Regional Energy Council-Chairman, Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation-Executive Board, and Philadelphia Economic Advisory Board-Chairman
He holds a B.S. degree from Carnegie Mellon University and an M.B.A degree from the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh. He has been awarded honorary degrees from – Doctor of Humane Letters – 1987, Spring Garden College – Doctor of Business Administration – 1989, Drexel University – Doctor of Science – 1994, Stevens Institute of Technology – Doctor of Engineering – 1995, New York Institute of Technology – Doctor of Science – 1998, and University of Pittsburgh – Doctor of Commercial Science – 2009.
He spends a month a year studying in Oxford’s Christchurch College and is a frequent participant in Smithsonian Lectures. He is a newly appointed Visiting Professor of Business and Engineering at George Mason University.
Awards and recognition
Smith has received a number of awards and honors including: CEO of the year (received four times), American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Cleveland Dodge Medal from Columbia University, the Wanamaker Award from the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind, the Mickey Leland Award for Diversity in Telecommunications, Lifetime Member Award from the NAACP, the Legend in Leadership Award, the American Academy of Achievement Award, Legacy Laureate from the University of Pittsburgh, and Points of Light Award. Carnegie Mellon University rrecognzed Smith with its 2017 Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award.*