Skip to main content

Leadership and Staff

Peter Smitham Chair

Peter Smitham is Chairman of the Board of the Atlantic Philanthropies. He became a Director of the foundation in 2004.

Following a varied career mainly in electronics and private equity, Mr. Smitham decided in 2000 to expand his focus to include strategic philanthropy, social impact investing and emerging market private equity. Over the years, in addition to Atlantic, he has joined the boards of Marie Stopes International, New Philanthropy Capital and, in 2016, Population Services International (PSI). A leading international non-governmental organization, PSI makes it easier for people in the developing world to lead healthier lives and plan the families they desire.

In 2004, Mr. Smitham and his family formed a foundation, the Kiawah Trust, focused on improving the lives of disadvantaged adolescent girls in India.

In 2002, Mr. Smitham was asked to help the British government form Actis by privatizing the equity investment arm of the CDC Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development. He served from 2004 until 2016 as chairman. Actis now raises private capital with a focus on Africa, India, China and South America, and is wholly owned by its employees.

Mr. Smitham was a founder of Permira Partners Ltd. (formerly Schroder Ventures), a leading global private equity fund manager, where he held different roles for 30 years until 2015, including managing partner and chairman. Previously he had worked in the electronics industry, including a successful start-up in the 1970s. He still maintains his links with technology and has been a director of NXP/Freescale, a global semiconductor company based in Texas, since 2007.

Mr. Smitham received his B.Sc. in Geography and Economics from Swansea University in Wales and a degree in Business and Management from Salford University in England, and attended the Senior Executive Program at Stanford Business School in California.