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FedEx names new CEO; Founder Fred Smith to step down

FedEx announced Chairman and CEO Fred Smith will be stepping into the role of Executive Chairman June 1. Company COO Raj Subramaniam will take his place.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — FedEx announced Monday that, effective June 1, company founder Fred Smith will step down from his role as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to become the Executive Chairman of the company. 

Raj Subramaniam, President and Chief Operating Officer, will be promoted to President and CEO.

“FedEx has changed the world by connecting people and possibilities for the last 50 years,” Smith said in a statement. “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. In my role as Executive Chairman, I look forward to focusing on Board governance as well as issues of global importance, including sustainability, innovation, and public policy.”

Beverly Robertson, CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber, shared her thoughts on the move.

“From a college class to a global brand, Fred Smith took the kernel of an idea and made it resonate around the world," Robertson said in a statement. "I feel a deep sense of civic pride every time I fly into Memphis and see row upon row of FedEx airplanes. Because of his profound vision, he’s leaving a powerful legacy that has forever changed the trajectory of this company and this city. We will continue to owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for his contributions to Memphis." 

“Fred Smith couldn't leave his legacy in better hands than those of his successor. We look forward to seeing Raj Subramaniam continue to build on the solid foundation laid by Fred Smith, whose impact will be felt in Memphis for generations to come."

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Subramaniam was elected to the FedEx Board of Directors in 2020 and will maintain his seat on the Board. Prior to his role as President and COO of FedEx, Subramaniam was President and CEO of FedEx Express, the world’s largest express transportation company. 

Richard Smith, Fred Smith's son, will take Subramaniam's place as President and CEO of FedEx Express.

Subramaniam also served as Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer of FedEx, where he was responsible for developing the corporate strategy. 

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In addition, he served as the President of FedEx Express in Canada and in several other management and marketing roles throughout Asia and the U.S. since he joined FedEx in 1991.

Smith founded FedEx in 1973 in Memphis and has served as CEO since the company's inception. 

Editor's note: This story was originally published stating that Fred Smith founded FedEx in 1971, but the company began operating in 1973, according to their website. 

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