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Breaking: Fred Smith named FedEx executive chairman

Raj Subramaniam, president, to become CEO as founder relinquishes role June 1

Fred Smith to become executive chairman, Raj Subramaniam takes on CEO role (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

FedEx Corp. said late Monday that Frederick W. Smith, the company’s founder, chairman and CEO, will become executive chairman, effective June 1. Raj Subramaniam, FedEx’s president and chief operating officer, will become CEO on that date.

The COO position will not be filled once Subramaniam relinquishes it on June 1, the company said.

Subramaniam, 54, has been named president- and CEO-elect, effective immediately.

R. Brad Martin, chairman of the FedEx (NYSE: FDX) board’s audit committee, has been named non-executive vice chairman, the company said. The board has designated Martin as its next chairman, FedEx said.

As executive chairman, Smith, who turns 78 in August, will oversee key strategic decisions affecting the company as well as continue running the board. He has served as chairman and CEO since the company’s founding in 1971. He was also the president until 2019, when he relinquished the role to Subramaniam.

FreightWaves reported last week that such a move would take place by the end of the year and perhaps as early as FedEx’s analyst and investor day meeting June 29 and 30. The story cited predictions from Satish Jindel, CEO of SJ Consulting, a prominent logistics consultancy. Jindel has worked with FedEx in various capacities for 25 years.

Jindel had suggested that, as part of the transition, Richard F. Smith, the son of the founder, would be groomed to eventually become COO. Earlier this month, Smith, 44, was named to become president of FedEx Express, FedEx’s air and international unit and its largest unit. The younger Smith takes over full duties Sept. 1.

Mark Solomon

Formerly the Executive Editor at DC Velocity, Mark Solomon joined FreightWaves as Managing Editor of Freight Markets. Solomon began his journalistic career in 1982 at Traffic World magazine, ran his own public relations firm (Media Based Solutions) from 1994 to 2008, and has been at DC Velocity since then. Over the course of his career, Solomon has covered nearly the whole gamut of the transportation and logistics industry, including trucking, railroads, maritime, 3PLs, and regulatory issues. Solomon witnessed and narrated the rise of Amazon and XPO Logistics and the shift of the U.S. Postal Service from a mail-focused service to parcel, as well as the exponential, e-commerce-driven growth of warehouse square footage and omnichannel fulfillment.