Smith offers words of encouragement for FedEx employees - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Anna Marie Hartman

Smith offers words of encouragement for FedEx employees

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Friday's Wall Street Journal says FedEx might not look like the kindest company after announcing wage cuts, but economic experts here in Memphis believe the move could turn out to be one of the smartest corporate responses to the recession.

Rather than eliminate jobs, FedEx announced Thursday it would institute a hiring freeze and cut salaries.  Smith had words of encouragement for employees after announcing the company would cut their pay for the foreseeable future.

"I have to tell you I'm enormously proud of what our team does each day," he said. "Each and every one of you to make the purple promise a reality."
Friday, local economic experts applauded Smith for a brilliant strategy that cuts costs, but saves jobs.

"At the first sign of a problem, FedEx responded, and that was creative," University of Memphis Director of Economic Research Dr. John Gnuschke said.
Gnuschke says corporations around the globe could take a lesson from Smith, who took the largest pay cut of all: 20 percent off his annual salary.

"We know how to deal with adversity and challenges, and I have no doubt that our team will once again pull through and rise to the occasion," Smith said.
Gnuschke says Smith's plan will make FedEx profitable again in the future. 

"Now's the time that all of us have to be strong," Smith told employees.  "Now's the time that all of us have to give it our best."

"This is another example where they've provided creative leadership that should be a national model for many corporations in America," Gnuschke said.

Creative leadership, from a company founded on a creative idea.  Gnuschke says the plan sends a message to FedEx workers that they are valued, and they're going to be part of the recovery plan that will take place at FedEx over the next year.

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