Theodore L. Weise, chief executive of
Federal Express Corp., is planning to retire at the end of January
after 28 years with the world's leading overnight package delivery
Weise, 55, will be succeeded by David J. Bronczek, 45, a FedEx
executive vice president with 23 years at the company. Weise denied
his decision to step aside was prompted by a disappointing earnings
report last month.
Weise, who held a number of senior management positions with
FedEx, became the cargo airline's president and CEO in 1998 after a
corporate restructuring that created a parent company, FDX Corp.
FDX, a $17 billion transportation company, is the parent of
FedEx and several other subsidiaries, including RPS Inc., Viking
Freight Inc., Roberts Express Inc. and FDX Logistics Inc.
"Ted has been at my side since the very beginning, consistently
providing invaluable counsel and strong leadership in numerous
capacities,'' said Frederick W. Smith, chief executive of FDX Corp.
and founder of Federal Express.
Paul Schlesinger, a market analyst with Donaldson Lufkin &
Jenrette of New York, said the change in FedEx management should
not greatly alter the company's operations.
"It would appear to me that one old hand retires and another
old hand takes his place,'' Schlesinger said. "There shouldn't be
a material difference in direction.''
Weise went to work for FedEx in 1972 when the company still was
being formed and was creating its system for time-specific,
cross-country package deliveries. It now delivers some 3 million
packages to 210 countries each business day.
Weise said he knew when he became CEO last year that he would
hold the job for only a couple of years. The retirement has nothing
to do with the company's disappointing first quarter, he said.
"Time has just come,'' Weise said.
FDX reported lower-than-expected earnings of 52 cents a share
last month and warned of possible weakness in the current quarter,
sending shares of FDX tumbling 12.4 percent. FDX later announced it
would buy back 15 million shares of its stock to show confidence in
After retirement, Weise will continue as a consultant on air
operations for the company.
"Few men or women have enjoyed the privilege, as I have, of
joining a struggling startup and helping it become one of the
premier companies in the world,'' Weise said.
Bronczek is currently chief operating officer for FedEx.
"Dave Bronczek brings considerable international experience,
strong business acumen and creative strategic thinking to the CEO
position,'' Smith said.
The retirement plans were announced after the close of trading
on the New York Stock Exchange, where FDX gained 43 3/4 cents to
$42.75 a share.