Team NEO Names Robert C. Smith Chairman of the Board

Dynamic Leader to help guide organization

The governing board of directors of Team Northeast Ohio (Team NEO) announced today that Robert C. (Bob) Smith, Partner and Cleveland Market Leader of HPM Partners LLC, has assumed the role of chairman of its board of directors. He succeeds Jim Clay, Past Chairman & CEO of Westfield Group, who held the role for two years.

“Bob is a highly-regarded businessman and a thought leader in our region’s economic development system,” said Bill Koehler, Team NEO’s CEO. “He brings with him a deep understanding of Northeast Ohio’s economy and a passion for smart growth. We are fortunate to have him on our board and grateful that he has agreed to be our chair.”

Deborah Hoover, President & CEO of Burton D. Morgan Foundation, and chair of Team NEO’s Governance Committee, added, “Bob has served as a valued member of our board and champion of the Team NEO mission. His advice and counsel have been instrumental in guiding Team NEO as it works to quicken the pace of job creation, business growth, and economic transformation in Northeast Ohio.”

Clay steps down after a highly successful tenure, during which Team NEO implemented a new regional competitiveness strategy. “We are grateful for Jim’s stewardship of Team NEO which has been characterized by innovative ideas, strategic thinking and a deep commitment to Northeast Ohio,” said Bill Koehler. “I was privileged to have had the opportunity to benefit from his leadership and friendship.”

About Bob Smith

Bob is the Market Leader of the Cleveland Office of HPM Partners and serves on HPM Partners’ Executive Committee, the Investment Committee, and the Asset Allocation Sub-Committee. He has more than forty years of experience in investing, finance, accounting and business management.

Bob joined HPM Partners in October 2016 when Spero-Smith Investment Advisers was acquired by HPM Partners. Previously, he was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Spero-Smith, which he joined in 1993 as President, Chief Investment Officer, and co-owner along with Founder Karen Spero.

He received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Accounting) degree from Ohio Northern University and holds a Masters of Business Administration (Finance) from Duquesne University. ONU has awarded him an Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration for his years of service as Chair of the Board of Trustees and for other civic leadership roles in Cleveland as well as the state of Ohio.

Bob is deeply committed to civic engagement and has received numerous awards and recognitions for his leadership. He has recently been inducted in the Ohio Foundation for Independent Colleges’ Hall of Excellence as well as the Association of Ohio Commodores. He has served in leadership roles on numerous boards and investment committees of corporations and non-profit organizations including the Motorists Insurance Group, Ohio Northern University and University Hospitals of Cleveland. He has also been appointed by several elected officials to boards of public entities, including the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and the Port of Cleveland. Recent public entity appointments include Chair of the Ohio Oil & Gas Commission and Chair of the Detroit Police & Fire Pension System Investment Committee.

About Team NEO

Team NEO is an economic development organization focused on creating jobs for Northeast Ohio’s residents. In collaboration with our partners, it leads the region’s business attraction efforts, supports business retention and expansion work as Northeast Ohio’s JobsOhio affiliate, accelerates the impact of innovation in the region, and aligns strategies and resources within the economic development network to maximize its impact. In addition, Team NEO provides tools to assist employers in attracting talent to the region. For more information, visit