As Microsoft’s vice chair and president, Brad Smith is responsible for spearheading the company’s work and representing it publicly on a wide variety of critical issues involving the intersection of technology and society, including artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, privacy, environmental sustainability, human rights, digital safety, immigration, philanthropy, and products and business for non-profit customers. He leads a team of roughly 2,000 business, legal and corporate affairs professionals located in 54 countries and operating in more than 120 nations.
In Smith’s bestselling book, coauthored with Microsoft’s Carol Ann Browne, Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age, he urges the tech sector to assume more responsibility and calls for governments to move faster to address the challenges that new technologies are creating. In his podcast by the same name, Smith and his guests expand on the themes in the book, exploring potential solutions to the digital issues shaping the world today. The New York Times has called Smith “a de facto ambassador for the technology industry at large” and The Australian Financial Review has described him as “one of the technology industry’s most respected figures.” He has testified numerous times before the U.S. Congress and other governments on these key policy issues.
Smith joined Microsoft in 1993, first spending three years in Paris leading the legal and corporate affairs team in Europe. In 2002, he was named Microsoft’s general counsel and spent the following decade leading work to resolve the company’s antitrust controversies with governments around the world and companies across the tech sector. Over the past decade, Smith has spearheaded the company’s work to advance privacy protection for Microsoft customers and the rights of DREAMers and other immigrants, including bringing multiple lawsuits against the U.S. government on these issues.
Prior to joining Microsoft, Smith was an associate and then partner at the law firm of Covington and Burling, where he is still remembered as the first attorney in the long history of the firm to insist (in 1986) on having a personal computer on his desk as a condition for accepting a job offer. In addition to his work at Microsoft, Smith is active in several civic organizations and in the broader technology industry. He has served on the Netflix board of directors since 2015 and chairs the board of directors of both Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) and the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship program.
Smith grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin, where Green Bay was the big city next door. He attended Princeton University, where he met his wife, Kathy. He earned his J.D. from Columbia University Law School and studied international law and economics at the Graduate Institute in Geneva, Switzerland. He can be followed on Twitter and LinkedIn. His podcast, Tools and Weapons with Brad Smith, is available on all podcast platforms.