Rick Smith is Chairman of Merryck & Co Americas. Rick also serves as President of The Pinkerton Foundation, a New York-based non-profit that provides support to programs serving the needs of at risk children and teenagers in poor communities. From 2007-11 Rick was Chairman of Newsweek, where he was Editor-in-Chief for 23 years and concurrently CEO for 15 years. During his tenure he led Newsweek’s migration to the web as well as its expansion into seven foreign-language editions, guiding the magazine through the most profitable years in its history.
Rick likes to say that he started working at Newsweek magazine “shortly after the earth cooled.” Actually, he wrote his first cover story in 1970 after a brief writing tryout. Fourteen years later, he became Editor-in-Chief and eight years after that, the Washington Post Company, Newsweek’s parent, concluded that Rick had too much time on his hands and asked him to be CEO as well. Before stepping back to become non-executive Chairman at the end of 2007, he had launched seven foreign-language editions, migrated the magazine to the Web, led Newsweek to the most profitable years in its history and earned the magazine industry’s highest honor, the Henry Johnson Fisher Award for Lifetime Achievement. In announcing Rick’s decision to step down as Editor-in-Chief and CEO, Washington Post Chairman Don Graham said: “Rick has been the most successful innovator in the newsmagazine business since Henry Luce. I admire his journalistic and business judgment more than I can say.” On exiting as Newsweek Chairman in early 2011, Rick has taken the role of President of The Pinkerton Foundation, an independent grant-making foundation established in 1966 by Robert Allan Pinkerton with the broad directive to reduce the incidence of crime and to prevent juvenile delinquency. Building on this mandate, the Foundation currently carries out its mission mainly through its support of endeavors that strengthen youth programming in poor communities. Rick is a also a board member of Temple-Inland Co., the Forestar Group and a tech startup, TalkMarket.com, as well as Vice Chairman of the Seoul International Business Advisory Council and on the boards of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, the Harvard AIDS Initiative, the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and Albion College.
The love of his life is Dr. Soon-Young Yoon, a medical anthropologist who works with the World Health Organization and other international agencies. Soon-Young grew up in Ann Arbor near Rick’s hometown of Detroit. They met in Korea and have been waving at each other in airport transit lounges ever since. Rick has three children and one brand new grandchild.