Private companies

Christopher Smith

Company relations manager

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Christopher Smith standing with his hand resting on the back of a chair.
We understand that scaling a business towards rapid, sustainable and profitable growth is hard and takes time. We help our portfolio companies by providing long-term capital and support, and I am focused on enabling and facilitating this support.

Integrity and adversity

Working as a student volunteer in East Africa’s jails gave me a deep appreciation for the importance of justice and integrity. I spent several months interviewing prisoners in Uganda and Kenya, helping lawyers prepare pro-bono defence cases for prisoners being held on remand. Living conditions were horrendous: there was massive overcrowding, disease was rife, and I met few over-50s as inmates rarely survived to that age. The countries’ justice systems were slow and chaotic, the convictions often questionable, and I witnessed corruption first-hand. The experience left me with a burning sense of injustice and underscored the critical roles of strong governance, proper decision-making and transparency in society.

Integrity is one of Baillie Gifford’s core values and involves always putting our clients first. I previously practised as a corporate lawyer for more than 15 years before taking on my current role and recognise the importance of this approach. I now strive to bring this mindset to helping our portfolio companies, mindful that our reputation for being a long-term supportive shareholder was hard-earned. 

Investing in relationships

We help our portfolio companies scale their business towards rapid, sustainable and profitable growth. We achieve this by providing long-term capital and long-term support.

We invest capital for the long term through the highs and lows of a company’s scaling journey. I am involved in structuring these capital financings, regardless of whether they are private or public.

We partner with our companies for the long term by actively supporting them to scale their culture and operations. We achieve this through our information advantage. I assist by making connections and enabling information sharing between our companies and Baillie Gifford’s team of more than 350 investment professionals. This knowledge can act as a radar to our companies, helping them understand potential developments in the wider industry and events in the global economy. 

We enjoy long-term relationships with the boards and management teams of many companies and other organisations engaged in academia and literature. I can connect our companies to this valuable network. This can be beneficial when they seek introductions to potential board members, customers or people who have faced and overcome similar challenges.

We also support our companies in scaling their operations with long-term strategic opportunities, considering environmental, social and governance matters, and transitioning to the public markets.


Edinburgh, Scotland

Favourite book

Tim Marshall: Prisoners of Geography

Get in touch

Send a message to Chris, or email the Private Companies Team directly.