FedEx Names Bronczek Future COO in Succession Planning Hint

  • Air cargo head will also take president’s title in 2018
  • Glenn, viewed as possible successor to Fred Smith, to retire

FedEx Corp. named Dave Bronczek to the newly created post of chief operating officer starting in 2018, positioning him as a possible successor to Chief Executive Officer Fred Smith.

Bronczek, 62, will also assume the role of president, a title currently held by Smith, FedEx said in a statement Monday. The heads of the shipping company’s operating businesses will report to Bronczek, who has served as chief of the FedEx Express air cargo unit since 2000.

“This would certainly make it appear that he’s the odds-on favorite” to succeed Smith, said Donald Broughton, an Avondale Partners analyst, who said Bronczek’s operational experience made him a logical choice as COO. “I know internally they have a plan, but they haven’t publicly disclosed it.”

The subject of a successor for 72-year-old Smith, who founded Memphis, Tennessee-based FedEx in 1971 and also serves as chairman, has been the focus of speculation for years. In 2015, FedEx’s board raised the mandatory retirement age for company directors to 75 from 72, a step that allowed Smith to stay on longer.

Glenn Retires

FedEx also announced the upcoming retirement of Mike Glenn, an executive vice president and leader of the marketing and sales group at FedEx. Glenn, who has been at the company 35 years, worked closely with Smith and was seen as a strong contender to succeed him. Glenn, 61, will retire at the end of this year to focus on raising a daughter who has special needs, FedEx said.

“No man has been more responsible for FedEx’s growth and success than Mike,” Smith told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting. “There is no one I admire more as a colleague and a man.”

Bronczek will replace Glenn as chairman of FedEx’s revenue management committee starting next year. Rob Carter, chief information officer and co-CEO with Glenn of FedEx Services, will become CEO of the unit Jan. 1.

“That’s a new management structure for the company,” Dave Campbell, an analyst with Thompson Davis & Co. “Fred used to tell those people what to do. It’s a significant change. My guess is that Fred will be focused largely on long-term strategy, certainly looking at the global situation and deciding how they should manage it all.”

FedEx rose 0.6 percent to $175.36 at 1:36 p.m. in New York. The stock advanced 17 percent this year through Friday, compared with a 13 percent gain for United Parcel Service Inc.

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