Gary B. Smith

Chief Executive Officer of Ciena

Smith is a British-American business executive who serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Ciena, an American telecommunications networking multinational company.

Early life

Smith was born in Birmingham, United Kingdom.


Smith received his Master’s in Business and Administration from the Ashridge Management College in Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, graduating Cum Laude. The Ashridge Management School is now part of the Hult International Business School.


Smith began his career in 1982 as Managing Director, Asia Pacific for the U.K. firm CASE Communications Group, where he worked for seven years. From 1989 to 1991, he served as managing director of Tricom Communications PLC, in the United Kingdom. Beginning in 1991, Smith served as Vice President, Europe and Vice President, Sales and Marketing for Cray Communications Group PLC in the U.K. and Annapolis, Maryland. In 1995, he became Vice President, Sales and Marketing of Intelsat General Corporation. In 1997 Smith joined Ciena, where he has worked ever since, climbing the corporate ladder. Smith started out as Ciena Vice President, International, then moved on to Senior Vice President, worldwide sales and onwards to President and Chief Operating Officer. In May 2001, Smith was named President and Chief Executive Officer of Ciena.

Net Worth

Smith is worth at least $116 million. He owns more than 104,316 units of Ciena stock approximately worth $40,017,197. Over the last 18 years, Smith has sold Ciena stock worth $64,805,554. Smith makes $11,016,400 as President, Chief Executive Officer and Director at Ciena.


During Smith’s time as Chief Executive Officer of Ciena, he has led the acquisition of seven companies, the most recent being the Optical Network and Carrier Ethernet assets of the bankrupt Nortel’s Metro Ethernet Networks for $774 million. March of 2010’s acquisition doubled Ciena’s size from around 2,100 employees to 4,000 employees. From the fiscal year ending in 2002 to fiscal 2013, Ciena’s revenues grew from $61 million to $2.1 billion. In January 2011, Smith was appointed to the White House’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee. Smith is a commissioner of the Global Information Infrastructure Commission, a Broadband Ambassador to the Internet Innovation Alliance and a member of the Wall Street Journal CEO Council. He serves on the Wake Forest University Advisory Council for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship and the board of directors of Avaya and CommValut Systems. In November 2011, the Industry Publication Light Reading inducted Smith into their Hall of Fame for his achievements and “staying power” as CEO of Ciena.