The high-profile businessman has held a string of top roles including as chair of engineering heavyweight Weir Group until 2013 and utility giant SSE until 2015.
In 2014, Lord Robert Smith chaired the organising committee for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and in the same year he was appointed as chair of the Scotland Devolution Commission. He is currently chair of Alliance Trust and Clyde Gateway, among others.
Steve Dunlop, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, said: “Lord Smith’s appointment comes at a critical time not only for our organisation, but for the Scottish economy as we look to collaboratively drive a more inclusive economy that can deliver quality jobs for communities around the country.
“As one of the UK’s most experienced chairs, Lord Smith will bring vast experience, talent and credibility, and without doubt will help us realise our ambitions – the team at Scottish Enterprise is very much looking forward to working with him.”
Lord Smith added: “I am absolutely thrilled to be appointed chair of Scottish Enterprise.
“This is an incredibly exciting time for the organisation following the publication of its ambitious new strategic framework and I am confident that my experience, both in business and the public sector boardroom, will help the committed and talented workforce to deliver for Scotland.”