President and CEO, Smart Business Network
Fred Koury co-founded Smart Business Network in 1989 with a single publication in Cleveland, Ohio. In the years since, he has brought the Smart Business magazine concept to 17 markets in 10 states with monthly publications that focus on the management skills and best practices of successful business leaders. While the magazine had a humble beginning focusing on small business news, it grew in size and stature and now focuses on the middle market in print and online. The various editions of the magazines have showcased the CEOs from some of the top brands in the world, including McDonald’s, Southwest Airlines, The Limited, and also featured some of the world’s most recognizable business leaders, such as Ted Turner and Jack Welch. From the magazine base, Koury has rolled out a series of business networking events that connect CEOs with some of the brightest business minds in the nation. The company is also involved with Ernst & Young’s high-profile Entrepreneur of the Year event, serving as the media sponsor in several cities and using its resources and connections to make sure top entrepreneurs get the recognition they deserve.
More recently, Koury has led the transformation of Smart Business from an analog business to a digital one. The company expanded into being a provider of competitive business intelligence, began providing search engine optimization and social media guidance to clients and created specialized online content to meet customer marketing needs. To meet the ever-increasing demand for content for both print and digital outlets, the company started creating custom content for clients several years ago and recently acquired The Wise Group, a company specializing in the custom content field.
In addition to building Smart Business Network, Koury created the largest business-to-business trade show company in Ohio, Premier Expositions. After growing the company in five years from scratch into a substantial and profitable operation, he sold it in 1995 to focus on his publishing operations.
Under his leadership, Smart Business has been active in many local charities, including the United Way, Make-A-Wish Foundation and Youth Challenge, an organization providing activities for children with disabilities.
Koury has served on numerous boards, including the United Way of Greater Cleveland, The National Conference for Community and Justice and St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church. He is a member of The 50 Club of Cleveland, a prestigious group of top business leaders in Greater Cleveland. He also serves on U.S. Bank’s Northeast Ohio Advisory Board, which consults with and provides advice and feedback to the bank’s president and senior management team.
Fred’s formal education includes a business finance degree from Bowling Green State University in 1985 and graduate work at The Ohio State University.