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FedEx is naming Raj Subramaniam as CEO, which replaces founder Fred Smith

FedEx is naming Raj Subramaniam as CEO

March 30, 2022: FedEx Corp. said Monday that Fred Smith would step down on June 1 as CEO of the package-delivery company that he founded and be succeeded by the company’s president and chief operating officer.

Raj Subramaniam will serve as CEO and president, and Smith becoming executive chairman, the package-delivery company said.

Smith, aged 77, started FedEx in 1973, delivering small parcels and documents more quickly than the post office could. He oversaw the company’s combined air and ground service growth for the next half-century and became an economic bellwether because it served other companies.

“FedEx has changed the world by connecting people and possibilities for the last 50 years,” Smith said in a statement praising Subramaniam’s ability to guide the company. Smith said he would focus on global issues, including sustainability, innovation, and public policy.

Subramaniam, aged 56, joined the company in 1991 and served in several marketing and management jobs in Asia and the U.S. He increased to become the chief marketing and communications officer and served as the top executive of FedEx Express. He became president and chief operating officer in 2019 and joined the FedEx board the following year. He will remain a director.

Smith says that for the last several years, he had recommended to FedEx directors that if he died or became disabled, they came Subramaniam CEO and appoint an independent chairperson. On Monday, the board appointed a present director, Brad Martin, as vice chairman and Smith’s designated successor as chairman.

Smith is breaking the news to FedEx employees in a memo that retraced some Memphis, Tennessee-based company’s histories. FedEx started with 14 planes and 389 team members, who delivered 186 packages on the first day of operations.

“We were a small startup and had our share of skeptics,” Smith said. He boasted that the company became a “global connector of people and possibilities that would change our world for the better.”

FedEx and rival United Parcel Service have benefitted from the boom in online shopping in recent years, which has meant parcels for its drivers to deliver to customers’ doorsteps. In 2019, as Amazon.com built up its delivery business, FedEx is dropping a contract to provide express delivery for the retail giant and stopped ground deliveries for Amazon soon afterward.

The trade war with China hurt FedEx. Smith frequently used forums such as the quarterly earnings call to rail against tariffs, which makes him one of the few CEOs of a huge U.S. corporation to challenge then-President Donald Trump’s trade policies.

 

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