President and CEO Robert Smith to depart; replacement being sought


Palmetto Goodwill President and CEO Robert Smith has announced he will step down June 7 after an impressive 40 years of service with the North Charleston-based nonprofit.

Smith started with Goodwill® in 1981 as a truck driver. He rose through the ranks, becoming CEO in 1998 after standing out among 75 other qualified applicants. During his tenure, Smith grew Goodwill from an organization serving approximately 100 individuals to an agency that helped more than 16,000 clients last year. He also opened the organization’s first career centers, which continue to help thousands of people find meaningful employment annually. In addition, he laid the groundwork for the organization’s first Excel Center, a tuition-free charter high school for adults.

Smith’s departure follows several months of discussion with the Palmetto Goodwill board of directors, resulting in a decision to change executive leadership.

“I am in full support of this transition and want nothing but the best for the organization,” said Smith. “It has been an honor and privilege to have led the organization as its CEO for the past 23 years. I am grateful for the board’s support over a time of significant growth and mission impact.”

“Bob Smith will be remembered as a valued, dedicated and loyal leader,” said Chris Harvey, Palmetto Goodwill board chair. “His legacy includes receiving the 2020 Kenneth K. King Outstanding Management Award for Executive Excellence, awarded by Goodwill Industries International (GII). He was also the first recipient of GII’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Champion Award in 2019. The Palmetto Goodwill board of directors join in the celebration of his accomplishments and wish him well.”

A succession plan is already in place and Palmetto Goodwill’s services will continue without interruption. Smith will start transitioning responsibilities to an interim CEO while the search process takes place. Palmetto Goodwill anticipates no other personnel moves connected to Smith’s departure, as it continues to fulfill its vital mission services in the Charleston community and surrounding areas.


About Palmetto Goodwill
Palmetto Goodwill is a nonprofit social enterprise whose mission is to help people achieve their full potential through the dignity and power of work. In operation since 1979, Palmetto Goodwill operates 31 thrift stores/donation centers, 12 Career Opportunity Centers and 15 commercial contracts to support its mission throughout its 18-county territory. To learn more, visit




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