May 14, 2020
Frederick W. Smith, chairman and CEO of FedEx, joined Washington Post Live to discuss business, the economy and the coronavirus pandemic.
Highlights
President Trump has recently threatened to withhold a $10 billion line of credit approved by Congress in a coronavirus stimulus package unless the Postal Service quadruples what it charges to deliver packages. When asked if the Postal Service increasing its package delivery fees would hurt his company, FedEx chairman and CEO Frederick Smith said they wouldn’t be affected one way or another by an increase. He added digitalization is what’s hurting the Postal Service.
  • May 14
Frederick W. Smith, chairman and CEO of FedEx, says the significant amount of industrial activity underway despite the coronavirus pandemic makes him optimistic about the future of the U.S. economy. ‘I’m optimistic that there’s enough economic activity that we can build on, and assuming that the medical folks deal with the disease itself competently, I’m more optimistic than most.’
  • May 14
When asked if he is worried about the Phase I trade deal with China and its uncertainty, FedEx CEO Frederick W. Smith said that whether the trade deal is executed exactly or not, both sides should recognize how important this economic relationship has been to mutual prosperity.
  • May 14
FedEx chairman and CEO Frederick W. Smith said given the size of the market China has internally, he is in favor of embracing trade deals with Europe. “I think Europe and the United States has to have a bigger marketplace with people from those regions of the world to match up to the internal marketplace of China with 1.4 billion people.”
  • May 14
Frederick W. Smith, chairman and CEO of FedEx, says the company has been hiring at prolific rates, bringing on about 4,000 drivers a week to its FedEx Ground unit.
  • May 14
When asked how he thinks China has been handling its public relations in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, FedEx chairman and CEO Frederick W. Smith said, “I think China to some degree has not helped itself with the wolf warrior diplomatic initiatives…On the other side of the coin…When people really just look at it objectively, China will recognize that what made them wealthy was the United States and Europe opening up our markets.”
  • May 14
At least five employees at the FedEx Newark hub have died from COVID-19. Frederick W. Smith, FedEx chairman and CEO, says the company is doing what it can to keep employees at that facility and others safe. “We’ve done all of the things the CDC and the WHO has recommended…Our experience in our Newark hub is actually slightly better, as best as we can tell, than what the community itself is experiencing.”
  • May 14
Frederick W. Smith
Chairman and CEO, FedEx
Frederick W. Smith is chairman and chief executive officer of FedEx Corp., a nearly $70 billion global transportation, business services, technology, and logistics company serving more than 220 countries and territories. Smith is responsible for providing strategic direction for all of FedEx Corp. and its operating companies, including FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Freight, FedEx Logistics, FedEx Office, and FedEx Services. Since founding FedEx in 1971, he has been an active proponent of regulatory reform, free trade, and “open skies agreements” for aviation around the world. Smith is co-chairman of the Energy Security Leadership Council, a trustee for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and a member of the Business Roundtable and The Business Council. He served as chairman of the US-China Business Council and is co-chairman of the French-American Business Council. He has also served on the boards of several large public companies and on the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Mayo Foundation boards. He was formerly chairman of the Board of Governors for the International Air Transport Association and the U.S. Air Transport Association.
Interviewed by Michael Duffy
Opinions Editor at Large, The Washington Post
About Washington Post Live
Washington Post Live is the newsroom’s live journalism platform. Top-level government and business leaders, emerging voices and newsmakers discuss the most pressing national and global issues of the day.