Leadership
We like to discover market insight and we like solving problems, but we love getting things done and putting our mark on the Chinese marketplace.

Our partners passionately believe that the Chinese customer (be it another business, government, or an individual consumer) is better served with more market options, and we will do all we can to help our multinational clients better compete for customer choice. Companies need to develop, implement, and adjust their corporate strategy to meet the biggest market opportunity we will see in our careers.

In order to serve our client’s corporate strategy, our partners have developed an innovative, unique philosophy that is tailored to address the challenges of the China market and built up SmithStreet's highly effective business model to where it is today.

Meet our leadership team by reading the profiles below and contact info@smithstreetsolutions.com for a face-to-face meeting opportunity.

Franklin YAO, Managing Partner

  • Market opportunity evaluation, entry/growth and e-commerce strategy for consumer and retail clients
  • Mitchell Madison Group, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, Inductis, Opera Solutions
  • B.A. in Economics and East Asian Studies from Yale University
Link Me
@FranklinjYao

As Managing Partner and co-founder of SmithStreet, Franklin advises global clients in the consumer goods industry on their China market entry, market growth, value chain optimization, customers, and e-commerce strategies.  Franklin is also in charge of the overall strategy, marketing and talent development at SmithStreet. 


In addition to his work at SmithStreet, Franklin is a member of the Advisor Council of the Asian’s Women’s Leadership University Project (AWLU), a Strategy Advisor for JUCCCE, a joint US-China NGO for clean energy development, and Deputy Chairman of the Shanghai Yangpu High-Tech District Overseas Chinese Committee. He was a recipient of the 2010 Shanghai Overseas Chinese Entrepreneur Award presented by the Shanghai government. Franklin’s insights into the China market have been featured in both Chinese and English media, including the Economist, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, The Deal, Crain’s New York Business, FOX Business News, and China Daily; and he has been a keynote speaker at Harvard Business School, Yale, NYU, Imperial College Business School, The Danish-Chinese Business Forum, the Wharton China Business Forum, and the E-commerce Asia 2013 Conference.


Prior to co-founding SmithStreet, Franklin managed the day-to-day operations of the Shanghai office of Opera Solutions, where he oversaw an eight-fold growth in its size. He was also a strategy consultant at Mitchell Madison Group, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, and Inductis in New York.  


Franklin received a B.A. in Economics and East Asian Studies from Yale University.


Robin KERAWALA, Partner and Co-founder

  • Market entry/expansion, commercialization, and price optimization for pharma, medical devices, and insurance companies
  • Operations Management Group, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, Silver Oak Solutions, Mitchell Madison Group
  • B.A. in Economics from Brown University
Link Me
@Robin Kerawala

Robin Kerawala is one of the Founding Partners of SmithStreet. He is responsible for leading healthcare client engagements, as well as client delivery and operations at SmithStreet. Robin has led projects that deal with national and regional market and regulatory trends that cover all aspects of the market, including all tier-level hospitals.  Robin helped the world’s leading medical device company (in its industry) analyze the effects of its pricing policy measured across the whole distribution chain.  Using qualitative knowledge gathered from strategically-targeted interviews, Robin has provided pharmaceutical firms with comprehensive insight into the Chinese government’s medical reimbursement policy and tender process, and its effect on the financial incentives of hospital management during bidding and on end-user purchasing behavior.


Robin is a leading expert on the healthcare industry in China, and has given talks at the Stern and Kellogg business schools. One of Robin’s projects was a Finalist Case Study at the Economist Healthcare in Asia Conference 2013.


Previously, Robin was an Engagement Manager at Mitchell Madison Group where he delivered significant cost savings for his clients, advising them on global logistics strategy, raw materials sourcing, as well as legal services and HR outsourcing issues. Robin also worked as a consultant at Operations Management Group, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, and Silver Oak Solutions.  


Robin graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Economics. 

Niels SORENSEN, Board Advisor

  • Board Advisor
  • Mitchell Madison Group, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, Essex Invest
  • B.Comm. in Marketing and B.S. in Economics from Copenhagen School of Economics
  • M.B.A. from Harvard Business School
Link Me

Niels Sorensen has spent 15 years in management consulting in New York, London and Copenhagen. He has advised global companies such as American Express, Merrill Lynch, Wyeth, and Carlsberg on growth, market entry and supply chain strategy. Niels has considerable international executive experience, and has most recently served as Chief Operating Officer at Essex Invest A/S, a $2 billion Northern European Real Estate and Sustainable Energy group. Prior to that Niels worked as Executive Chairman of Allokton AB, a publicly listed Swedish Real Estate company; Managing Director of Investments at CenterPlan with activities in Scandinavia, Germany, and the UK; and as Vice-President and global service line head for Supply Chain at CapGemini in New York.


Niels holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, along with a Bachelors of Commerce in Marketing and a Bachelors of Science in Economics from Copenhagen School of Economics.

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