Jeffrey Smith

Jeffrey Smith is a Managing Member, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer of Starboard Value LP. Prior to founding Starboard Value LP, Mr. Smith was a Partner Managing Director of Ramius LLC, a subsidiary of the Cowen Group, Inc., and the Chief Investment Officer for the funds that comprised the Value and Opportunity investment platform.


Mr. Smith graduated from The Wharton School of Business at The University of Pennsylvania, where he received a B.S. in Economics.


After earning an undergraduate degree at Wharton and spending a few years as an M&A banker at Societe Generale, Smith left Wall Street in the mid-1990s to work for his father’s publicly traded juice business – The Fresh Juice Company – to help it overcome a stagnant share price and operational problems such as underutilized production capacity.

During that time, Smith helped with three acquisitions and instituted a plan to grow the frozen and fresh juice company’s retail and wholesale sales channels. “It was an amazing experience to be able to see the inner workings of a company, and the inner workings of management as the company needed to grow into its excess manufacturing capacity. We also went out and grew retail sales, grew wholesale sales, and I learned how to actually conduct sales calls and run a sales department,” says Smith.

Ultimately, Smith and his father found a buyer for company, selling it in 1998 for $21 million to The Saratoga Beverage Group, now a part of The Naked Juice Company.

In 2002, Jeff started Starboard Value with Mark Feld. The firm has had a 84% success rate with its acvitist campaigns in which it seeks to "invest in deeply undervalued companies and actively engages with management teams and boards of directors to identify and execute on opportunities to unlock value for the benefit of all shareholders." As a result, Starboard’s assets have grown by nearly $4 billion since 2011 and the firm has managed to post annualized returns of 16.2%.

While Starboard has had numerous activist investments, their star activist-move came with their investment in Darden Restaurants, Inc. owner of food chains such as Olive Garden. By the end of their campaign, Smith ousted the CEO of restaurant operator Darden and replaced its entire board of directors. Deservingly, Jeff Smith has gained a reputation as "The Investor CEOs fear most". While Jeff is still an up and coming activist investor, given his success rate and achievements, it is only a matter of time until Smith catapults himself into the highest ranks of investors.

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"If you’re easily shaken out of an investment, you don’t know it well enough."

"If it doesn’t bother you when an investment goes against you, then there’s also a problem."