Rick Smith

President, Pinkerton Foundation

Rick Smith’s first job in New York was driving a taxi while a grad student at Columbia. A few twists in the road later found him at Newsweek magazine on something called a two-to-four week writing tryout. It apparently went well. Thirty-seven years later, Rick retired from the magazine after serving as Hong Kong Bureau Chief, Asian Editor, Editor of the International Editions and 23 years as Editor-in-Chief and 16 as Chairman and CEO as well. Along the way, Newsweek won a host of national magazine awards, recorded some of the most profitable years in its history, and introduced seven foreign-language editions. For his efforts, Rick earned the magazine industry’s highest honor, The Henry Johnson Fisher Award for Lifetime Achievement. He joined the Pinkerton board in 1995, and after a few years of site visits to programs supported by the Foundation, he pronounced the director’s job “the best job in the world.” A decade later, the board remembered his comment. He became Pinkerton’s President in 2010. Rick is also non-executive Chairman of Merryck & Co. Americas, a leading CEO mentoring firm, and a board member of the Forestar Group and of Videolicious.com, a technology startup. In addition, he’s a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and on the board of visitors of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and the international board of the Harvard AIDS Initiative.  He is married to Dr. Soon-Young Yoon, a medical anthropologist who consults with the World Health Organization and other international agencies. Soon-Young is the former Chair of NGO/CSW and currently first vice president of the International Conference of NGOs.