After a bachelor's degree with honors in chemistry from the University of Stirling, a doctorate in organic chemistry from the Research Institute for Medicine and Chemistry, and a post doctoral position at the University of Geneva, Smith joined Procter & Gamble. Following several years with P&G, he joined the fragrance industry in a number of technical management positions in Switzerland and the United States.
In 2002, he joined Coty at their global R&D headquarters in Morris Plains, N.J., USA, as VP of R&D, where his responsibilities included basic research, fragrance technology and development, consumer affairs, sensory, Coty Testing Institute, analytical, safety and toxicology. In July 2011, he was named senior VP of R&D, a role he assumed in Geneva, Switzerland. In this position, he maintained his responsibilities in the United States while establishing Coty’s newly created Global Center of Excellence for Fragrances in Geneva.
Retiring in the spring of 2015, Smith founded his own consulting company. He has a number of publications in chemistry and perfumery and a list of patents ranging from insect control to deodorancy to delivery systems.