FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) said Tuesday that Henry J. Maier, president and CEO of its FedEx Ground parcel-delivery division, will retire on July 31.
Maier, 66, will be succeeded by John A. Smith, current head of FedEx Freight, the Memphis, Tennessee-based company’s less-than-truckload division. Lance D. Moll, currently FedEx Freight’s senior vice president of operations, will succeed Smith as head of FedEx Freight. Moll joined the unit in 1992.
Smith, a 21-year FedEx veteran, becomes FedEx Ground’s president and CEO-elect on March 1 and formally assumes the role on June 1, FedEx said. Maier, who joined FedEx in 1986 after a stint at Roadway Package System (RPS), which FedEx acquired in 1997 when it bought RPS’ parent, will stay on until July 31 as a consultant, FedEx said. Maier has spent 40 years in transportation, and few in the ground-parcel delivery industry possess as much institutional knowledge as he does.
Since Maier took the helm at FedEx Ground in June 2013, his role has expanded both in portfolio and importance. FedEx had already seen a major shift in U.S. demand from domestic air to ground services before the e-commerce phenomenon took hold. The increase in business-to-consumer (B2C) fulfillment spurred by digitalization further solidified FedEx Ground’s position as the parent’s core operation in the U.S.
During Maier’s tenure, FedEx spent billions of dollars retooling its U.S. ground network to get ahead of demand spikes. In addition, FedEx has migrated all last-mile deliveries once outsourced to the U.S. Postal Service into the FedEx Home Delivery, which falls under FedEx Ground.
Smith takes over a job that is receiving more scrutiny than ever because of its importance to FedEx’s business and to its finances. FedEx shares got hammered in mid-December after FedEx Ground reported fiscal 2021 second-quarter margins of 7.5%, a level considered subpar by investors who were hoping the unit would return to margins in the mid-teens range that were commonplace several years ago.