NCA Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year
president and CEO
As the president, CEO and chief visionary of Equinix, the world’s largest data storage infrastructure and co-hosting provider, Steve Smith is leading by example and guiding his company into a promising future.
A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., Smith was shaped by his eight years in structured and disciplined military service. Then, his years in management at Electronic Data Systems, Lucent Technologies and Hewlett-Packard helped refine his leadership style and prepared him to take the helm at Equinix in 2007 on the cusp of an imploding global economy.
Not only did Smith help Equinix withstand the economic crisis, it has posted 41 consecutive quarters of growth and positive earnings. The company has found success because the data storage services and co-hosting technology are literally “mission critical.”
Equinix differentiates itself with ever-expanding network infrastructure and Smith’s development and advancement of data business ecosystems. By developing facilities in the most expensive markets, clients can use an Equinix facility rather than making their own sizeable investment. The ecosystems allow similar businesses to consolidate and interconnect for previously unimaginable efficiencies and speeds.
The company also continues its expansion into new emerging markets, such as China, Indonesia, Brazil, India and Russia, managing the risk of varying regulatory environments and cultural philosophies.
By some estimates more than 50 percent of Internet traffic flows through Equinix data centers.
One of the things that originally impressed Smith about the company was the strength and character of the existing leadership team, so he has been careful to preserve that.
Smith quotes the behavioral scientist Jim Collins when describing his role in building the Equinix management team, “My job is to get the right people on the bus, get them seated in the right places, decide which direction the bus needs to go and then drive.”
How to reach: Equinix, www.equinix.com