Business experts respond to FedEx COO’s retirement announcement

Top executive leaving FedEx

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Meagan Nichols with the Memphis Business Journal says when David Bronczek, the number two man at FedEx resigns abruptly, the business world notices.

“Behind Fred Smith, he’s the top person at FedEx,” Nichols said. “It does seem a little bit sudden, only because Bronczek was just elected to the board of directors at FedExCorp less than a month ago.”

In a release on the FedEx Investor Relations site, the company says Bronczek made a "personal decision" to retire. He had been with the company since 1976

FedEx founder Fred Smith said in a statement, "We recognize Dave for his years of service to FedEx. FedEx has a deep bench of talent, and I am confident the transition will be seamless."

Smith's new heir is Raj Subramaniam, who was just promoted to lead FedEx Express two months ago.

He will take over as President and Chief Operating Officer of FedEx Corp March 1.

"He's been rising in the company for the past few years, especially the last few months. This is is his second major promotion in the span of a few months. And he's been with the company for about 27 years," Nichols said.

Bloomberg calls Bronczek's resignation a "shock exit."

Analyst Kevin Sterling told Bloomberg, "It's a huge red flag. I've never in my 15 years seen FedEx act like this."

Bronczek's departure follows the December exit of David Cunningham, another company veteran.

FedEx announced shortly after an employee buyout program and reduced spending, citing softer demand overseas.

When asked about the impact of Bronczek leaving, Nichols said only time will tell.

"So we're going to have to wait and see on this one. But definitely surprising news," Nichols said.

Bronczek leaves FedEx on February 28.

The company will pay him 2.5 million in cash.

FedEx shares fell one percent to $182 after the close of trading.

Bloomberg reports FedEx stock has fallen 24 percent over the last 12 months.

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