Fred Smith stepping away from operations role at FedEx

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

Fred Smith is stepping away from his role as chairman and chief executive officer of FedEx Corp on June 1, 2022. Raj Subramaniam, who is currently president and chief operating officer, will be promoted to president and CEO.

Fred Smith

As part of the transition, Subramaniam has been named president and CEO-elect of FedEx Corp. effective immediately.

Smith founded Federal Express in 1971. It began operations as an air-ground network in 1973 to serve the rapidly growing high-tech, high-value-added sectors of the economy. The company has since grown into a $92 billion global enterprise that serves more than 220 countries and territories.

“When Fred Smith founded FedEx, he disrupted conventional thinking and created an industry. In his role as executive chairman, he will focus on the key issues, policies, and innovations that will continue moving FedEx and the world forward,” said David Steiner, chairman of the board’s governance, safety, and public policy committee.

“There is no bigger titan in trucking and transportation than Fred Smith. Over the course of five decades, Fred built FedEx from the ground up into one of the most iconic and innovative companies the world has ever known. His contributions have not only benefited our industry; they have helped transform our economy and forever changed the way we all live,” said American Trucking Associations president and CEO Chris Spear.

Raj Subramaniam

Subramaniam was elected to the FedEx board of directors in 2020 and will maintain his seat on the board. Before being promoted to his current role as  president and COO of FedEx Corp., Subramaniam was president and CEO of FedEx Express. He also served as executive vice-president and chief marketing and communications officer of FedEx Corp. 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.

“Raj is an accomplished and proven leader, and he has the full support of the Board. He has more than 30 years of global experience across strategy and operations and has led the company through a period of tremendous growth,” Steiner said.

“I am confident that Raj will build on this foundation and take the company to even greater heights.”

“Fred is a visionary leader and a legend of the business world,” Subramaniam said. “He founded one of the world’s greatest and most admired companies, and it is my honor and privilege to step into this role and build upon what he has created.”


R. Brad Martin, chairman of the board’s audit committee, is now non-executive vice chairman of the board. In this role he is the board’s designated successor to serve as chairman. Steiner will continue to serve as lead independent director. Smith and Subramaniam will both report directly to the board, and the COO position will not be backfilled.