Robert Christopher Gay was born in Los Angeles, California, on September 1, 1951. He married Lynette Nielsen in April 1974. They are the parents of seven children.
He earned a bachelor of arts degree in economics with an emphasis in statistics from the University of Utah and a PhD in business economics from Harvard University.
He has served in numerous Church callings, including full-time missionary in Spain, high priests group leader, mission president in West Africa, and Area Seventy.
Elder Gay served as chairman of the Self-Reliance Services and Perpetual Education Fund Committee, president of the Asia North Area, and as a member of the missionary executive council, the executive committee of the Church Educational System, and Presidency of the Seventy, where he assisted in the supervision of the North America Northeast, Asia, and Asia North Areas.
He spent his professional career working in business, education, and humanitarian relief. In this capacity, he cofounded or established private equity companies, worked at several leading global institutions as a management consultant, and worked as a university instructor. He has also established several humanitarian organizations that have built schools; provided clean water, medical clinics, and microenterprises; and protected children at risk and trapped in modern slavery. His work in these areas is widely recognized and has impacted and lifted the lives of people across the world.