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. Retiring in the spring of 2015, Smith founded his own consulting company, following which, he returned to the industry, this time as Chief Scientific and Regulatory Officer of La Perla Beauty. He has a number of publications in chemistry and perfumery, and a list of patents ranging from insect control and deodorancy to delivery systems.