Fred Smith, the business magnate who founded FedEx Corporation in 1973, has announced his plans to step down as the company’s CEO, effective on June 1st, 2022.
Current COO Raj Subramaniam Will Succeed FedEx Founder Fred Smith as CEO
Succeeding Fred Smith as FedEx is Raj Subramaniam, who has been with the company since 1991. Currently, Subramaniam serves as the company’s Chief Operating Officer.
In an official statement, Smith said the following regarding his transition out of the role of CEO:
“FedEx has changed the world by connecting people and possibilities for the last 50 years. As we look toward what’s next, I have a great sense of satisfaction that a leader of the caliber of Raj Subramaniam will take FedEx into a very successful future.”
According to FedEx, Smith will transition to the role of executive chairman. In this position, he will oversee sustainability, innovation, public policy, and other global issues.
From 1973 to Today: Fred Smith’s Legacy
Since Smith founded the company in 1973, FedEx has enjoyed massive success, and has grown into the world’s largest transportation company. Smith pioneered the concept of overnight delivery, and wrote a paper outlining an overnight delivery service while studying at Yale. He received a “C” on the paper.
When conceptualizing FedEx, Smith focused on developing a delivery network that integrated both air and ground transportation. After raising millions in venture capital, FedEx began offering service to 25 cities. The company started with transporting small parcels and documents, and operated with a fleet of 14 Falcon 20 jets.
In the company’s early days, Smith sometimes resorted to unconventional methods to keep the business afloat. One now-notorious account details Smith taking the company’s last $5,000 to Las Vegas after FedEx was denied a crucial business loan. Smith won $27,000 at the Blackjack table, which he used to cover the company’s outstanding $24,000 fuel bill, and FedEx was kept alive for one more week.
Today, FedEx handles more than 16.5 million shipments daily, and employs over 600,000 people around the world.