FedEx's Smith gives perspective to City Council - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

FedEx's Smith gives perspective to City Council

By Nick Kenney - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - FedEx CEO Fred Smith opened up to Memphis City Council members Tuesday, talking about everything from crime and education to the economy and the future of Memphis.

In a rare public appearance, Smith battled bronchitis to discuss a sickly economy he said is poised for recovery.

"I do think the that the economy has begun to bounce along the bottom," he said.

Smith is the founder and CEO of FedEx, the largest employer in the area, and is widely regarded as one of Memphis' most influential citizens. The Memphis City Council invited him to speak to offer his perspective regarding the future of the city and a long list of other issues.

"The only thing I can do is to give you my experience from the business world," Smith said.

And Smith did just that as he weighed in on numerous issues:

On consolidation:
"I don't think it's necessarily a good thing to consolidate every government function because in business when you try to do that oftentimes you completely lose a feel for what you're trying to do."

On Memphis' best industries:
"Bioscience, higher education, and tourism it seems to me are the things that we can compete with anybody in if we set our minds to it."

On police residency:
"I would advise you, if you need police officers, hire the best police officers and if they want to live on the river they can live on the river if they want to live in a cabin in the woods they can live in a cabin in the woods."

On the Memphis/Shelby County economy:
"You need to focus on how to grow our economy inside the city limits and Shelby County and the rest of it will take care of itself."

Smith said he expects the economy to start on an upswing potentially as early as this fall.

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