J.D., Harvard Law School, 1990
B.A., Russian Studies, Harvard College, magna cum laude, 1986
Robert Zafft advises businesses of all sizes on cross-border trade and investment, domestic commercial matters, governance and IT.
A former McKinsey & Company management consultant, Robert combines legal analysis with practical, business-focused problem solving. Having lived and practiced for many years in Europe and Asia, his experience includes legal and business planning relating to market entry, joint ventures and business partnerships, transactions, compliance and dispute resolution.
Robert’s career also includes private-equity and advisory work in the Bay Area, with a focus on emerging technology companies, business transformation and IT-project risk management.
Robert’s policy work includes serving as a senior advisor to retired British Prime Minister Tony Blair and a senior corporate governance expert for Asia, Eurasia, and Russia for the OECD. Robert teaches business ethics at Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis.
- International Association of Privacy Professionals, Certified Information Privacy Professional – US (CIPP/US)
- Technology Business Management Council, principal member/contributing author
- Court of International Commercial Arbitration, Republic of Kazakhstan Chamber of Commerce & Industry, panel member
- Kazakhstan International Arbitration, panel member
- The Missouri Bar
- Illinois State Bar Association
- State Bar of California
- World Commerce & Contracting, Fellow
- $75 million sale of a St. Louis software company to a publicly traded European company.
- Governance and operational transformation of a $80 billion sovereign wealth fund.
- Deal and legal lead on an application-outsourcer’s $90 million private placement to a European investor.
- Deal and legal lead on the merger of two European application outsourcers having combined revenues over $60 million.
- Multi-billion dollar natural-resources consortia in Kazakhstan and Russia.
- Nine-figure investment by global consumer products company in Kazakhstan.
- Spinout of the engineering-services division of a US software company.
- Risk advisor on the $1.3 billion acquisition of a foreign pharmaceutical company by a bulge-bracket U.S. PE firm.
- Master service agreement for application development for a top five global bank.
- Privacy processes and public relations strategy for an Internet advertising broker.
News & Insights
- Interview with Robert Zafft, "What this St. Louis expert advises companies to consider before jumping into social, political controversies"St. Louis Business Journal, April 26, 2021
- February 12, 2021
- Interview with Robert Zafft, "Full of entertaining examples, new book is guide to making business ethics work 'in the real world'"Olin Blog, September 29, 2020
- Interview with Robert Zafft, "TikTok is more than a viral video app: It's also the lateset flashpoint in US-China relations"St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 24, 2020
- Compliance Week, June 2, 2020
- Wolters Kluwer Health Law Daily, February 16, 2018
- Bloomberg Law, September 19, 2017
- Directors & Boards, 2017 Annual Report
- Interview with Robert Zafft, "FOCUS on the Middle Market: Robert Zafft, Attorney and business ethics specialist"President & CEO FOCUS on the Middle Market Podcast Series, March 24, 2017
- September 29, 2016
- St. Louis Business Journal, September 24, 2015
- St. Louis Business Journal, September 4, 2015
- St. Louis Business Journal, August 25, 2015
Seminars & Speaking Engagements
- Thomson Reuters, May 27, 2020
- "The Saga of the St. Louis Thread Company: An Ethical Comedy in Four Acts"Corporate Counsel Institute, St. Louis, Missouri, May 18, 2017 & Saint Louis University School of Law, June 10, 2016
- Forbes, November 30, 2020
- Forbes, November 24, 2020
- Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2020
- Working without a safety net: Lessons for Better Relational ContractingIACCM Contracting Excellence Journal, April 30, 2020
- April 2018
- American City Business Journals, recurring column
- The Corporate Board, May/June 2017
- Corporate Compliance Insights, July 21, 2016
- Corporate Compliance Insights, May 13, 2016
- Corporate Compliance Insights, March 25, 2016
- SSRN Working Paper, August 2013
- “A White Elephant is Not a Black Swan: Why You Can Do More About IT Project Risk than You Think (A Reply to Flyvbjerg and Budzier)”Risk Governance & Control: Financial Markets and Institutions, Vol. 2, Issue 3, September 2012
- 20 Questions to Ask about Wills & EstatesCareer Press, 2006
- “Corporate Governance and Arbitration of Company Law Disputes”OECD Programme Statement, September 2003
- “The World Bank/OECD White Paper on Corporate Governance in Asia”OECD Publications, June 2003
- “The Unfinished Task of Asian Insolvency Reform”International Financial Law Review, 2003
- "When Corporate Governance is a Family Affair”OECD Observer, October 2002
- “Russia's New Foreign Investment Law”Review of Central and East European Law, 1999
- “The Regulation of Telecommunications in the Russian Federation”Parker School Journal of East European Law, 1998