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As Chairman of Newsweek, Richard M. Smith works closely with the magazine's Editor and CEO as a senior adviser on all editorial, business and media industry issues. Until stepping down in December 2007, he had previously been Newsweek's Editor-in-Chief since 1984 and CEO since 1991.

Smith is a former Chairman of the Magazine Publishers of America and a past member of the board of the American Society of Magazine Editors. In 2002, he received the magazine industry's highest honor, the Henry Johnson Fisher Award for Lifetime Achievement. He continues to serve on the MPA's Executive Committee.

Smith joined Newsweek in 1970 on a four-week writing tryout. After serving as a writer in the International and National Affairs departments, he moved to Hong Kong as Asian Editor and Hong Kong Bureau Chief. In 1978, he became editor of the magazine's international editions. In 1984, he became Editor-in-Chief of Newsweek and added business side responsibilities in 1991 as President and CEO. He became Chairman in 1998.

During his term as Editor-in-Chief and CEO, Newsweek launched seven foreign-language editions of the magazine in Japanese, Korean, Russian, Polish, Arabic, Spanish and Chinese and started, which, according to Nielsen, now reaches an average of nearly seven million visitors a month. Over the last 20 years, Newsweek has won seven National Magazine Awards, including two for General Excellence.

Smith graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Albion College (Michigan) in 1968, attended Columbia University's School of International Affairs and received an M.S. from Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism in 1970. He is married to Dr. Soon-Young Yoon, a medical anthropologist who works with the World Health Organization and other international agencies.