Our Team

Robert A. Smith

Robert A. Smith / Managing Partner


Robert Smith is a Founding Partner of Castanea Partners and has over 20 years of senior executive management and operating experience in the consumer products, retail, professional publishing, and education sectors.

Formerly, Robert was Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of The Neiman Marcus Group Inc. (NYSE: NMGA) where he was also co-CEO from 1999 to 2001 and had been a member of the Board of Directors since 1997. Previously at the Neiman Marcus Group, he held the positions of President and Chief Operating Officer.

Robert received his AB from Harvard College and his MBA from Harvard University.

Prior to co-founding Castanea Partners in 2001, Robert was co-CEO of Harcourt General from 1999 until its sale in 2001, and was a director of the company from 1989 to 2001. At Harcourt General, Robert held several management roles, including President and co-Chief Operating Officer. While at Harcourt General, Robert was also President of General Cinema Companies. Before joining General Cinema Corporation (predecessor to Harcourt General), Robert was an associate consultant at Bain & Company, a leading strategy consulting firm. He previously served on the National Retail Federation Board.

Robert is a Trustee of the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation. He currently serves on the Boards of Directors of the Children’s Hospital, Facing History & Ourselves, Pan-Mass Challenge, Jumpstart, and the Harvard Committee on University Resources. He has previously served as Vice Chairman of the Board of Buckingham, Browne & Nichols School and the Institute of Contemporary Art.

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Portfolio Companies

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Press Releases

  • Tom First Joins Castanea Partners as an Operating Partner

    SEPT 2016 - Castanea Partners announced today that Tom First has joined the firm as an Operating Partner focusing on opportunities in the branded food and beverage sector.

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Media Coverage

  • Meet Houston's Reigning Beauty Business Queen

    JUN 2015 - Janet Gurwitch is the founder and former CEO of Houston-based Laura Mercier Cosmetics.

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  • Janet Gurwitch speaks at 2014 Texas ACG Capital Connection

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