Meet Tony Mestres, new CEO at The Sobrato Organization
Former Microsoft and philanthropy executive will take the reins at development giant
This week, Tony Mestres takes the reins at the Sobrato Organization as its new CEO. The former Microsoft executive was announced in October as the pick to take over for former CEO Matt Sonsini, who had held the role for almost six years and departed this summer.
Unlike Sonsini, who spent a total of 15 years with the Mountain View-based development firm in various roles and is married to the daughter of Sobrato founder John A. Sobrato, Mestres is an outside hire. Most recently he was the senior vice president at Arabella Advisors, overseeing the advocacy investment company’s Partner Solutions line of business. In the role, he worked with nonprofits to “advance their goals through a wide range of incubation, collaborative grantmaking and fiscal sponsorship projects,” according to the Arabella website.
Before coming to Arabella in January this year, Seattle-based Mestres spent seven years as CEO of Seattle Foundation, one of the largest community foundations in the country serving 1,200 individual, family and corporate philanthropists, according to a Sobrato press release.
During his time there, the foundation’s assets grew 50 percent and its annual impact-driven grants quadrupled, according to the release. As a “champion of racial and gender equity,” Mestres increased the foundation’s employee diversity from 16 percent to more than 50 percent people of color.
In between his two philanthropic roles, Mestres served as president of healthcare data company Truveta. The majority of his career was spent working for Microsoft, which he joined in 1999. By the time he left more than 14 years later, he was a vice president responsible for worldwide sales and marketing of the Windows product line.
The combination of private sector and philanthropic work appears as a key reason that The Sobrato Organization, one of the biggest names in Bay Area real estate and has a family foundation that gave away $164 million in 2021, hired him to lead the company.
“Tony’s career includes an impressive roster of leadership positions that span industries and sectors that exceptionally position him to advance TSO’s vision of building a more equitable and sustainable world,” according to the company’s release. “He will oversee all of TSO’s business and philanthropy efforts, including a growing portfolio of cross-organizational initiatives focused on economic mobility, affordable housing and sustainability.”
Mestres earned a degree in history from Dickinson College in 1992 and in 2017 he was named a Distinguished Alumni. In a video promoting the Pennsylvania university that year, he said that his history degree prepared him for his career-long focus of melding giving with private sector work.
“My education in history made me fascinated around how societies worked,” he said. “What was the role of the public sector, private sector? What was this thing in the middle called philanthropy and social impact?”