Christopher Smith, who initiated the policy and government affairs capability at liquefied natural gas producer Cheniere Energy and served for seven years as an official in the U.S. Department of Energy, is joining Ford on April 4 as chief government affairs officer.
Smith will add to Ford’s policy capabilities as the company carries out priorities in the U.S. and around the globe – in rapidly evolving areas such as connectivity, electric vehicles and digital services, and in ways that benefit customers, society and the environment. He succeeds Mitch Bainwol, who retired from Ford at the end of 2021, and will report to Steven Croley, Ford’s chief policy officer and general counsel.
“Chris has devoted his career to shaping progressive energy policy and driving toward a more sustainable future,” Croley said. “He brings tremendous passion and expertise to Ford as we shape the future of transportation.”
For the past four-plus years, Smith was senior vice president, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, at Cheniere Energy, the world’s second-largest liquefied natural gas operator. While there, Smith led the incorporation of climate principles into Cheniere’s business model and influenced a modernization of federal regulations.
During the Obama Administration, Smith served as an official at the Department of Energy, ultimately as assistant secretary for fossil energy. In that role, he oversaw policy, international engagement, and research and development programs. Earlier in his career, Smith held managerial and analytical positions at Chevron, focusing primarily on upstream business development and LNG trading, and analytical roles at Citibank and JPMorgan in New York City and London.
Smith, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, began his career as an engineer officer in the U.S. Army, including a tour in Korea. He also has a master’s in Business Administration from the University of Cambridge in England and a degree in applied mathematics from American Public University.