Born in 1944 in Marks, Mississippi, Frederick W. Smith, Yale College 1966, is the founder and CEO of FedEx Corporation. The original analyses about the logistic needs of a highly automated future society were done during his tenure as an undergraduate.
After four years of service in the Marines, including two tours of duty in Viet Nam, he launched the original air-ground Federal Express network which began operations in 1973 to serve the rapidly growing high tech/high value added sectors of the economy Smith had predicted. The company has since grown into a $58 billion global enterprise.
Smith is responsible for providing strategic direction for all FedEx operating companies: FedEx Services (including FedEx Office), FedEx Express, FedEx Ground and FedEx Freight. FedEx serves more than 220 countries and territories with operations that include 650 aircraft and over 150,000 vehicles. More than 400,000 team members worldwide currently handle more than 12 million shipments each business day.
FedEx has been widely acknowledged for its commitment to total quality service. FedEx Express was the first service company to win the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 1990. FedEx has consistently been ranked on FORTUNE magazine’s industry lists, including “World’s Most Admired Companies,” “100 Best Companies to Work For,” and is on FORTUNE’s “Blue Ribbon Companies List.”
Smith is co-chair of the Energy Security Leadership Council, a Trustee for the United States Council for International Business, and a member of both the Business Council and Business Roundtable. He served as chairman of the U.S.-China Business Council and co-chair of the French-American Business Council. Smith has served on the boards of several large public companies – Malone and Hyde (AutoZone), First Tennessee, Holiday Inns, EW Scripps, and General Mills – and charitable organizations including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Mayo Foundation. He was formerly chairman of the Board of Governors for the International Air Transport Association and chaired the executive committee of the U.S. Air Transport Association.
Smith has received several honorary degrees and numerous civic, academic, and business awards including the Global Leadership Award from the U.S.-India Business Council; the George C. Marshall Foundation Award; the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy; and the Circle of Honor Award from the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. In addition, Smith is a member of the Aviation Hall of Fame and the Business Hall of Fame. He served as co-chairman of both the U.S. World War II Memorial project and the campaign for the National Museum of the Marine Corps. He has been named a top CEO by both BARRON’S and CHIEF EXECUTIVE magazine.